Within the framework of the EU project CreArt, Croatian Association of Fine Artists will once again mark this year’s European day of artistic creativity on March 22, by implementing the project entitled Art as Therapy.
In recent years, we have begun to rediscover the benefits of visual and creative expression for personal growth, self-expression, transformation and achieving well-being. Many people have noticed that visual expression can have calming effects and reduce stress, help release strong, disturbing and conflicting emotions, recover from traumatic events and experiences, give meaning to the often-confusing world around us and even help eliminate some physical symptoms of our illnesses.
Following these efforts, the Croatian Association of Fine Artists as the project holder has implemented the project “Art as Therapy“ in collaboration with partner institutions and associations: Svitanje Association – the Association for the Protection and Promotion of Mental Health in Zagreb and “Sveti Ivan“ Psychiatric Hospital in Zagreb. Mercedes Bratoš, MA and Ivan Barun, M.D., MFA from “Sveti Ivan“ Psychiatric Hospital in Zagreb have acted as project managers, and Tara Beata Racz, M. Psych., Koraljka Kovač, MFA from the Faculty of Textile Technology in Zagreb and Natalie Kasap Kozarac, MFA, have participated in the project as workshop managers. The project has also included Croatian artists with the necessary education, experience and sensitivity needed to work with people with mental and psychological difficulties.
The aim of the “Art as Therapy“ project is, through creative and expressive art workshops organised in the above associations and institutions, to enable the participants to express themselves artistically and emotionally in a structured and moderated creative process.
Furthermore, with the final exhibition of the project titled “Art as Therapy“ at the Karas Gallery from 16 to 22 March 2021, this project raises the awareness of the public on the importance of therapeutic effects of art, as well as on the broad possibilities of its application. It also works on the destigmatisation of people who, for a shorter or longer time, were the users of these associations and institutions. Each of the above artists designed and held one art therapy workshop according to their own sensibility, and this project, along with the works of the workshop participants, also presents the approach and method of work of the workshop managers.
The works created at these therapeutic and emotionally expressive workshops are not just bold testimonies of individuals in their specific situations and with their specific problems. They also speak of something much broader, of what is also a part of our human experience, only if we are sensitive and brave enough to face our own inner emotional world. With their directness, sensibility, emotional freedom and by being unburdened with expression, they face us directly or quietly sneak up on us to speak to us and to ask us about our fears and dreams, losses and victories, confusions and decisions, the need to be ourselves and the need to belong, and in the end, the need to love and be loved in return.
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