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New course aims to heal through art

By   /   December 5, 2013  /   Comments Off

Joash Mencias // News Editor

 Screen shot 2013-12-05 at 2.48.52 PMCould art be a form of therapy? That’s a question some would answer as an obvious yes, especially for Melissa Hedlund, executive director of The Light of the Heart, a community art therapy project.

Starting next semester, Hedlund will bring the world of art therapy to the College of DuPage in a brand new 16-week course.

“I’m really excited and honored to be teaching at COD,” Hedlund spoke over the phone. “It just feels so right to be teaching there.”

According to Hedlund, the course, officially entitled “Introduction to Art Therapy,” will give students an overview of the field of art therapy, a form of trained counseling using artistic creative processes. The course includes a theoretical aspect and experiential learning.

The course will be held on Fridays from 9:00 a.m. until 11:50 a.m. in the newly refurbished McAnich Arts Center.

Painting instructor Jennifer Hereth said the need for the course arose from students asking how they could make a living in the arts, which presented an opportunity for the growing field of art therapy to be featured as a career choice.

The course was not initially included in the catalog because the arts department first had to gauge demand for such a course, Hereth said.

When Hedlund gave a visiting artist lecture, 40 out of the 60 attendees were interested in taking an art therapy course, expediting the creation of the class.

Hedlund was a student under Hereth when she studied at COD.

Hedlund cites COD as part of her track into art therapy. While she eventually received her master’s degree in art therapy and counseling psychology, she took fine arts courses at COD.

“I went back to COD in 2004 to take art classes and I fell in love with art making. I love the teachers in the arts department…COD has a special place in my heart.”

Ever since Hedlund completed her studies, she has been involved in a number of community programs and social organizations.

In addition to her community project she co-founded, Hedlund also serves as a director on the board for the Coalition of Illinois Counselor Organizations, a representative to the Illinois Counseling Association and the incoming president of the Illinois Art Therapy Association.

Hedlund envisions the possibilities of a transcendent experience for students taking the course.

“This course isn’t just an elective…I hope that it brings light, excitement, joy and to reignite passion in art making.”

Hereth expressed enthusiasm for the unique nature of the course.

“I just think it’s cutting edge. I am so excited…we are so lucky [Hedlund] is teaching here.”

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  • Published: 8 months ago on December 5, 2013
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  • Last Modified: December 5, 2013 @ 8:49 pm
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