Caldwell, N.J., Nov. 28, 2016 – Art therapy graduate students volunteered to work with military veterans at the non-profit organization The Art Therapy Project in New York City on Nov. 5.
Samantha Commarato, Caldwell University fine arts alumna, is clinical director at the Project. She says the non-profit works on an outreach basis with survivors of trauma. The Caldwell art therapy students “were really prepared…the clients felt comfortable with them and appreciated them being there.”
The veterans were invited to create a piece representing a safe space using Altoid tins. They could decorate the inside and outside and place objects in the tin that represented their experiences, thoughts, and feelings. The idea was to create something that was pocket-sized that the clients could easily carry around as a comfort object or as a reminder of a positive experience.
Caldwell art therapy master’s student Melanie Peters said volunteering with the veterans was a powerful opportunity. “Working with the veterans was a rewarding experience because I was able to give back to those who have given so much for myself, my family, and our country.”
Eve Cannon, also a Caldwell art therapy graduate student, said it was wonderful to put into practice what they have been studying by doing something meaningful for the veterans. “It was also a special time to connect with our peers in a different environment and do some art making together.”
The day showed how art can bring people together and that art therapy is a vital tool in helping people express themselves in a healthy manner, said Peters.
Commarato said it was it was wonderful to collaborate with the Caldwell students and faculty and give them a chance to experience what they do at The Art Therapy project. “We hope to continue to work together.”
Art therapy faculty Annette Vaccaro led the day of service.