Students encouraged to submit artwork for Healing Arts Showcase in January


Joseph Barringhaus

Artwork from Meladee Garst’s past clients, created as part of their therapy.

Meladee Garst, staff psychologist and Inclusive outreach & communication coordinator at the Counseling and Testing Center, said she got the idea to put together an art show after realizing how happy art could make her clients.

“I’ve used art as part of treatment in the past because everybody communicates in different ways,” Garst said. “A lot of us try to communicate verbally, and oftentimes, people struggle with that. Art offers a modality for people to explain what they’re going through, and being able to use that in therapy to dialogue back and forth has been really helpful.”

Garst said attending a conference at the University of Northern Texas with a colleague gave her the idea to showcase students’ artwork.

“Their entire counseling center was decorated with works of art from students,” Garst said. “When we came back in June, I wanted to create that on this campus. We use art all the time when we work with clients, but we never thought about showing it to other people or making it the center piece. That’s what we’re trying to do.”

As a result of her efforts, the first annual Healing Arts Showcase event will occur from 3-5 p.m. on Jan. 26. The show will consist of work submitted by Wichita State, and is meant to be a representation of how art can take different forms and affect people in different ways.

The event, which is open to the public, will include refreshments and music at no cost.

Current WSU students can submit a piece of art before the noon deadline on Jan.12. Submissions can include drawings and paintings, or less physical works such as videos, music, or poems.

All entries must be original works of art created in the last three years.

“We’re leaving it open since this is our first time doing this,” Garst said. “We’ll see where we go from here.”

Submission forms are available on the university website. A small committee of individuals will review the submissions and select 12 to 15 works to showcase.

Beginning the first week of the spring semester, selected pieces will be displayed in the Cadman Art Gallery in the Rhatigan Student Center. Students can cast their votes for the Peoples’ Choice award.

Both the Peoples’ Choice and a Best in Show will be awarded at the showcase on Jan. 26, and recipients will receive a $50 gift card from the WSU bookstore.

Though the event is still in its early stages, Garst said she hopes it will provide a valuable service to the WSU community.

“My hope is that, through this, we’re giving an avenue for students to highlight the things that are meaningful for them,” Garst said. “It’s also something that can hopefully provide a sense of peace and healing for others.”