[Past Project] Student-Run Art Therapy Program (START)

The art therapy project at Terence Cardinal Cooke Center seeks to bring undergraduates from Columbia and Barnard into the discrete HIV psychiatric unit at TCC, where they can lead and participate in art activities, inspired by the history of art. The purpose of this program is to bring the pleasure of art-making and admiring to the residents in the locked psychiatric unit, to promote mental and spiritual healing through art, as well as to expose undergraduates to the intersection of institutionalization and human rights in modern American society. The Program hopes to serve as an outlet in which residents may express themselves and share their stories through art, and foster lasting relationships between Columbia student volunteers and residents of the unit, allowing both parties to learn and grow with each other.  Stimulation through color and texture offer individuals in distress some relief, different from any other sources already available at TCC. The act of making art affirms the individual’s agency, especially in the context of an open, encouraging classroom. Finally, socialization with young people and fellow residents around art, art history, and art making can foster a stronger, kinder, more hopeful community within the discrete unit at TCC.