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Contemporary art reflects our humanity and guides us to contemplate how we engage with others in our society. The gallery space provides a unique arena to foster conversation, build communities, and cultivate mindfulness. Every Art & Resilience program is designed not only to engage the arts in new and fresh ways, but also to teach us how resilience can be learned and strengthened.
Grounded in what sociologists call social constructivism, or learning through group interaction, and informed by positive psychology’s emphasis on well-being, Art & Resilience provides facilitated opportunities to share reactions, thoughts, stories, and observations of artwork without judgment. The meaning of contemporary art is never fully fixed; it is subjective. Art & Resilience leverages this notion in radically leveling the playing field, encouraging all to contribute to the discussion. Participants cocreate meaning and interpretations of artworks in a safe environment in which they learn to trust themselves and others while building a sense of community.
The practices nurtured in this suite of programs can readily transfer to other life experiences. As participants grow more comfortable and confident with creating meaning in the galleries, they develop agency and resilience that can help them navigate and enjoy other aspects of their lives as well.
Art and meditation come together in the Wexner Center galleries during On Pause, an exciting collaboration with Replenish: The Spa Co-op. Through guided facilitation, participants practice breathing and mindfulness techniques to slow down, notice, and reconnect with the body and mind. Each week, the group session centers on a new artwork in the gallery and incorporates an inquiry-based observation of the artwork into the meditation practice. Observing artwork for a longer duration often invites participants to see art anew and can elicit responses to the work in fresh, perhaps unexpected ways. Through deep looking and healthy conversation with the group, participants will engage in both personal reflection and artistic interpretation to connect with the self as well as the community.
On Pause creates a space that is open to all. Whether you are new to meditation or have previous experience, this program offers an opportunity for individuals to focus inward and build new connections through meditation, art, and conversation. You are encouraged to modify your practice to fit your physical and emotional comfort throughout the session.
Discussion and meditation instruction take place at the beginning and midpoint of each session, and participants may drop in at any time during the hour. We invite you to join us for whatever time fits into your schedule. We gather at the gallery entrance and travel to our program location together at noon. Participants arriving later will be guided to our gallery location by staff.
“It is nice to simply be with other people in a space every week. I feel a sense of comfort and belonging. It’s a routine that I look forward to.”—On Pause participant
Group conversation and interpretation of contemporary art can challenge and enrich the thinking and feeling mind. Art on the Brain guides individuals living with brain/mind trauma (including traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder, stroke, and cancer) as well as their loved ones or caregivers as they explore art across the disciplines. During this eight-week program, participants engage in an inquiry-based observation of artwork in the galleries, unpacking it together to discover new meaning. The program involves visual art as well as live dance and music performances.
Contemporary art has many layers, which makes it ripe for interpretation, discussion, and reflection. Art on the Brain features a social constructivist approach to interacting with art, wherein participants collaborate to make meaning and share their thoughts, curiosities, and stories as a way of building community and resilience in the face of the unknown. Participants use mindfulness practice to bring awareness to their conceptual, emotional, and physical responses.
Art on the Brain focuses not on highlighting injury or deficit, but on noticing and celebrating present and reemerging strengths. Whether you are new to art or a seasoned aficionado, this program offers a safe space to engage and try something new within a supportive community. Participants of the program report feeling a sense of trust and camaraderie within the group and that they learned something new by stepping outside their comfort zone.
This is a multivisit program, so participants are asked to join us each week for the duration of the class. Participants should be past the acute phase of their recovery and able to travel to the Wexner Center.
“I feel safe and trust in the group. I get to hear a lot of voices. We are all working on the same thing, but it is impossible to duplicate ideas. I like that.”—Art on the Brain participant
Created in partnership with the Chalmers P. Wylie VA Ambulatory Care Center, this special version of Art on the Brain is customized to meet the needs of service members, who often suffer from depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress, and/or social isolation. During this eight-week program, participants are guided in inquiry-based observations of artworks in the galleries and conversations about live dance and music performances.
Vets at the Wex participants have noted the importance of being open to new thinking and getting “outside of your box,” the value of being free to express themselves without judgment or criticism, appreciation for the art forms they experience, and gratitude for the positive social aspects of the program. Family members and caregivers are invited as well. No arts experience necessary!