A big thank you to our presenters, Gioia and Rebecca and all who attended The Art of Happiness lecture May 4th at Art at the Center. Gioia Chilton and Rebecca Wilkinson brought to life the energizing field of positive psychology and ideas around defining mental health based on strengths rather than on pathology. Their experiential activities got us up and moving around to discuss adn explore how these ideas relate to our own lives, strengths and preferences. Art activities helped to create a bridge to the connections with art therapy and how achievement of mastery and flow experiences contribute to feelings of happiness.
One important point they made was that achieving happiness does not mean an absense of any negative emotions. It means building resilience, a focus on the positive and the ability to bounce back after setbacks.
This reminds me of the Studio Thinking Habits of Mind we work to build in the studio. When we "engage and persist" we work through frustration, having faith in the creative process. When we "develop craft" we attend to specific skills and the care and use of our tools. This leads to feelings of accomplishment, mastery and ownership of the studio space and the work that is made. We "stretch and explore" when we experiment with a new art media or subject matter, something outside our usual comfort zone. This is where a community of artists is so important in the studio. Peers provide support and resources to support creative risk taking. When we "reflect" or "envision," we look at what is going well, what works in a piece of art and how that might lead us to logical next steps. We imagine new possibilities and look for ways to build on interests and strengths of individual artists.
The Studio Thinking Habits of Mind were developed as a way to highlight learning in studio settings. You can read more about them here,
Studio Thinking for Young Minds