online edition

The Student Newspaper of Hopkins School

    • In a joint meeting with the Mental Health Club, Art Club introduced the therapy gallery proposal.

Paint and Soothe: Clubs Curate New Art Therapy Gallery

Jo Reymond ’26 Assistant Arts Editor Aerin O’Brien ’26 Campus Correspondent
This winter, the Hopkins Art Club and Mental Health Awareness Club are teaming up to offer a space for the Hopkins community to escape the stress of the term exams and the doldrums of the cold, dark Connecticut
This winter, the Hopkins Art Club and Mental Health Awareness Club are teaming up to offer a space for the Hopkins community to escape the stress of the term exams and the doldrums of the cold, dark Connecticut
winters. The Art Therapy Gallery is a concept created by Katherine Tombaugh ’24 and Grace Laliberte ’24 co-heads of Art Club, in collaboration with Margot Sack ’24, and Zachary Haywood ’24, co-heads of the Mental Health Awareness Club. The group created the exhibition to address the widespread anxiety on campus and sought to create an oasis where students can feel seen and connected to each other and to the larger Hopkins community.

Art has proven to be a useful mental health tool that therapists have utilized to help patients heal. Studies
have shown that at least 75% of stressed patients who create art for at least 45 minutes experience extreme drops in cortisol, a stress hormone. However, new evidence has emerged that simply experiencing art by viewing or listening can also have great stress-reducing benefits. A recent study published by the British Medical Journal investigated the effects of viewing art on stress outcomes across several major studies around the world and found that most subjects reported a significant decrease in heart rate and blood pressure, as well as lower levels of cortisol.

Faculty members on the Hill echoed these sentiments, sharing their takes on art therapy. For School Psychologist Susan Watson, “art therapy is a form of psychotherapy that incorporates artistic expression into
the therapeutic process” as it “blends the disciplines of counseling and art.” Watson also believes art therapy has the ability to “help people gain insight into and express  thoughts and feelings that they may initially be unable to verbalize,” and how in her opinion, “it can be an effective way to process trauma.” She also went on to explain the ways in which the Keator Gallery serves as a space in which students can, “express themselves by showcasing their artwork,” and also where “different groups of students can bond with each other and encourage dialogue on important issues through their artistic exhibitions.” She adds, “When students are better able to understand and process their feelings and connect emotionally with the world around them, they are better able to learn and are overall happier and healthier.” Studio art teacher Peter Ziou shares a similar perspective. He explains, “If you do something that makes you feel good about yourself, you see the environment around you in a different way.” He adds that “art keeps us from being devoured by the tragedies in our lives.”

With all of these studies proving that art has a profound positive effect on those who struggle with their mental health, Haywood recognizes that the Mental Health Awareness Club could make a major impact on the school community with this art gallery. “We saw a couple galleries last year, and that kind of inspired us, and we thought we could do something similar for mental health,” he explains. He shares that in the past, music has helped him overcome his own troubles and explained that he “understand[s] how art can really influence your emotions and help you get through stuff, like [how] music has helped me.” Haywood acknowledges that for others, visual art provides the same help he gleans from music and through teaming up with the Arts Club, students on campus could experience this rejuvenation. “That’s kind of why I was excited about this idea,” he states. Similarly, Tombaugh shares that art has helped her cope with stress during the pandemic and she hoped to spread that comfort the rest of the community: “Life at Hopkins can be really stressful, especially these past four years, and I want [the gallery] to be an outlet for people to deal with that.”

The gallery, which will feature visual art such as pottery, photography, painting, videography, and drawing, will be organized around four major themes: Peaceful Pieces, Identity Therapy, Symbolized Emotions, and Nature Therapy. Haywood shared that their goal is “to give the artists something to do that hopefully isn’t very taxing...
something that they can do that relaxes them, [and] that takes their mind off of school.”  The pieces will focus on stimulating feelings of peace and calm, providing an outlet to express emotions that cannot be expressed verbally, and finding inspiration in nature. One piece that will be showcased is a short film by Michael Latshaw ’24. “It’s about a student who is fed up with his everyday life, and he decides to venture into the woods, where he sort of has a self-realization,” Latshaw explains. He also shared that the process of creating this film has helped him deal with his feelings and shared that it “continues to help me as I watch it again, it’s a very good experience.” Another contributing artist, Jesse Piazza ’25 is currently working on a collage that has been inspired by his own mental health journey, which will be centered around the idea of “how other people see the world and what’s important to them.”

Despite the fact that the majority of this art is produced by the artists for themselves as their own coping mechanisms, Haywood hopes that the visitors to the gallery will be able to see themselves in some of the art and relate to some of the feelings represented by the featured artists. He explains that, “as corny as it sounds, we’re not alone and everybody goes through mental health challenges. I think that seeing art that shows how people have overcome [the same obstacles] can inspire other people to do it.” Tombaugh also aims for the gallery to give students a break from studying and from worries about the world outside of the Hopkins campus. She explained that none of the artwork displayed will have any possibly triggering material, and all of the pieces will be reviewed by Dr. Watson and members of the Arts and Mental Health Awareness clubs to ensure that it is a positive experience for all.

Tombaugh hopes that you can find the Art Therapy Gallery to be “an oasis in the campus and an escape from the rest of the school year.” All artists involved in this gallery are intent on creating a safe space; an eye in the middle of a storm of assignments. For Piazza, this gallery exhibition is especially incredible as he adds, “It’s nice to see such a large group of students who support each other and want to make Hopkins a better place.”
Editor in Chief 
Asher Joseph

Managing Editor 
Margaret Russell

Claire Billings
Jo Reymond
Rose Porosoff
Eric Roberts
Abby Rakotomavo
Elona Spiewak
Veena Scholand
Miriam Levin
Liliana Dumas
Saisha Ghai
Olivia Yu
Anya Mahajan
Rain Zeng
Winter Szarabajka
Aerin O'Brien

Karun Srihari
Samantha Bernstein
Hana Beauregard
Micah Betts
Elaina Paktuka
Edel Lee
Anjali van Bladel
Nate Gerber
Rebecca Li

Hailey Willey
Web Editors
Amelia Hudonogov-Foster
Anvi Pathak
Chloe Wang

Faculty Advisers
Stephen May
Elizabeth Gleason
Shanti Madison
The Razor's Edge reflects the opinion of 4/5 of the editorial board and will not be signed. The Razor welcomes letters to the editor but reserves the right to decide which letters to publish, and to edit letters for space reasons. Unsigned letters will not be published, but names may be withheld on request. Letters are subject to the same libel laws as articles. The views expressed in letters are not necessarily those of the editorial board.
The Razor,
 an open forum publication, is published monthly during the school year by students of: 
Hopkins School
986 Forest Road
New Haven, CT 06515

Phone: 203.397.1001 x628