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Color, Creativity & Meaning

Art Heals: Shine Your Light Chalk Festival – May 19, 2022

Our student artists got creative for a cause by sharing personal stories through their artwork to help raise awareness of mental health and support teen suicide prevention.

Creating a visual image through any medium can produce physical and emotional benefits for the creator and those who view it. Our Art Heals: Shine Your Light Chalk Festival on May 12th was all about the healing power of art. Color, creativity, and meaning were fully displayed as our student artists created unique sidewalk chalk murals that reflect their mental health stories on the theme of light and how "art heals." 

Ashlyn Lambert of Blackstone, a junior in Multimedia Communications, said, "The idea of self-authenticity through art was the inspiration for my piece. I wanted to create a gray scale portrait, flowing with color from within to represent a contrast between one's outer shell and the true inner self. I'm my most authentic self when I'm creating art. I express emotions I might not always let show on the outside. With the theme of mental health and healing through art, I felt it was important to emphasize that being able to communicate how you're feeling and expressing yourself, even if it's not through words, is crucial to healing and growing as a person."

Griffin Beaulieu of Douglas, a junior in Advanced Manufacturing & Fabrication, has an eye for detail. While he is used to creating items out of metal in his vocational shop, he said, “I enjoyed using chalk pastel to create a tree mural. The tree’s growth is symbolic of how my creativity has grown during my time at BVT.” 

Julia Saksa of Northbridge, a sophomore in the Electrical program, created a green largemouth bass mural while sporting a Bass Pro Shop t-shirt. She said, “l didn’t plan to wear this shirt; it just happened. I love to fish. I find it relaxing. I enjoy fishing with my dad and as a member of our Bass Fishing Club.”

For Murphy Potter of Douglas, a junior in the Painting & Design Technology program, hands have been a focal point in some of her past community artwork. For this event, she created two hands reaching toward each other, one skeletal and the other human.

"Participating in the Chalk Art Festival meant I could express myself in a medium I don't usually use," said Rebecca Brodeur of Millbury, a junior in Painting & Design. Rebecca worked with a friend to create a piece that featured a sunshine yellow duck. "I wanted to create a piece that made me happy because creating art is something that had helped me when I was not happy. I've realized that I can use my creativity to make something that makes me and others happy. Being able to heal and grow as a person was a huge reason art is my passion; there's an emotional connection."

In collaboration with the School Based Health Center, fifty-one students participated in this artistic endeavor showcasing art as a positive way of expressing emotions and diminishing negative feelings and thoughts. The event also featured BVT alumni Alyssa Davis (Painting & Design Technology, Class of 2020) and Annabelle O'Reilly (Construction Technology, Class of 2020), college art students working alongside the student artists and providing insight and feedback.

It was a beautiful day for this outdoor festival and for the community to view the completed masterpieces during the Evening Chalk Walk. It was an opportunity to connect with others in a shared appreciation and awareness of how art can be used as a strategic tool in the treatment of mental health.

This event was supported in partnership with BVT's Visual Arts Department, School Based Health Center, and supported by grants from Grafton, Mendon, Milford, and Millville Cultural Councils (Mass Cultural Council's Local Cultural Councils Program).