Concordia Arts Hive conjures the psychological and spiritual aspect of arts
The history of art therapy goes back to around the 1700s, when art was being used in various modes of psychological treatment. According to Lois Woolf, founder of the Vancouver Art Therapy Institute, art therapy was first explored in Europe and North America in the 1940s.
The study of this subject and human psychology was explored in increasing depth for years. Unlike art creation, art therapy focuses on the process of art rather than the result.
The Centre for the Arts in Human Development at Concordia University provides creative art therapy for people with disabilities and special needs, as well as for people with anxiety and depression. Senior associate director Lenore Vosberg says that instead of teaching art skills, the centre helps people express themselves through different art forms.
“It’s a very supportive place. People get a lot of good and positive feedback for everything they do here,” Vosberg said. The centre works to build participants’ self-esteem and self confidence, as well as build relationships and trust through the process of art creation.
As art is a genre of work that embraces different ideologies, art therapy is useful for all kinds of people. It’s an alternative to traditional therapy for people who find it easier to express themselves through an art form rather than speaking to a therapist.
The Concordia Art Hive is a public practice art therapy space, located on the first floor of the ER building downtown and on the fourth floor of the central building at Loyola in the G-Lounge. The spaces are accessible to anyone who wishes to achieve self-expression through art. Students sit around a table to communicate with each other while creating their crafts.
Rachel Chainey is an art therapist who coordinates the Art Hive HQ located at Concordia’s downtown campus. She says that one of their challenges is getting people to understand what art therapy is.
“Some people would be intimidated by arts because they think they should be good,” Chainey said. “[But you approach] it from an angle of play. It’s not a performance, or result, but more of a process.”
There are more than 30 art hives in Montreal. Traditional arts are spreading internationally into many other fields, like technology, creating endless possibilities for artists everywhere.
Art education student Kaida Kobylka stopped by the Art Hive with the goal of observing art studios in a public space. She explained the process of an AI project that she had explored, in which she had to put the artistic idea first to let it create. “AI can learn and create, but it can’t just make something out of nothing yet,” said Kobylka. “I have to put the artistic thoughts into the input, it isn’t just replacing an artistic mind.”
“Everybody has the crisis when they are an artist, like does what I made matter or would painting exist in the future,” Kobylka said, “but the answer is yes, the paintings are still evolving and relevant.”
Indeed, art has been always seen as a form of self-expression and materialized thoughts throughout the existence of humankind, and this is how traditional art participates in society in a psychological and spiritual way.