Kristen Vesbach believes there is no right or wrong way to be creative. She encourages people to nurture their inner artist without fear of judgment.
Vesbach will explore the wellness and mindfulness benefits of creativity in a new set of courses for the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Living Well—Today and Tomorrow.
“Through simple technique and experimentation with art materials, these classes will encourage intuitive art making, giving students room to grow and create at their own pace,” she says.
Living Well—Today and Tomorrow launched in 2015 with the goal of helping community members solve problems in their own lives. The courses for 2016-17 provide expertise in managing stress, coping with chronic pain, cultivating resiliency, and other skills necessary for living a well-balanced life. Running September through April, they include Color My Life: Tools for Managing Mood and Stress (Oct. 5-Nov. 2); Practices for Heart-Centered Living (Oct. 8); and Global Body, Mind, and Spirit Practices (Oct. 22). Many of the classes run in accessible times on weekends and evenings.
Incorporating art into daily life
Vesbach’s courses in creativity represent a new focus for Living Well—Today and Tomorrow. They’re geared toward those who want to experience the benefits of incorporating the arts into their daily lives and wellness practices.
“I would suggest these classes for people who’ve been told that they were not an artist or that they were making art the wrong way,” says Vesbach, who maintains a separate art therapy practice.
The courses range from a half day to a full day to six weeks.
Get Smart: Work Out Your Brain with Art (Sept. 24) will engage students in simple exercises to enhance their creativity and expand their perspective.
In Art Journaling for Relaxation and Self-Growth (Oct. 4-Nov. 8), students will create an art journal using simple mixed media techniques.
Alter Your Life, Alter Your Books: A Celebration of Change (Jan. 24-Feb. 28) will build problem-solving skills to help students manage transitions. They will cut, paste, doodle, write, and reflect while making their own books of art.
Spring to Life: Boost Your Mood with Floral Painting (March 4) will encourage students to play with color as they work on abstract mixed-media paintings.
In these courses, Vesbach plans to promote creativity without setting rules or limits.
“I find it endlessly rewarding to guide others as they discover the benefits of the expressive arts in their own lives,” she says.
Living Well—Today and Tomorrow features other creativity-oriented courses for 2016-17, including Creativity: Becoming Your Own Muse (Sept. 14-Oct. 12), Creativity: Finding Flow and Your Artist’s Voice (Sept. 14-Oct. 12), Movement Explorations: Dancing from the Inside (Oct. 22-Dec. 10), and Color My World: Tools for Reducing Communication Stress (Feb. 22-March 22).