This summer, SVA MPS Art Therapy is partnering with the Art Therapy department at the Cork Institute of Technology in Cork, Ireland for a summer international exchange program. Here, first-year MPS Art Therapy student, Jenny Asaro, writes about the first few days of the program:
Graduate Art Therapy students from the Cork Institute of Technology in Cork,Ireland arrived on Saturday for a twelve day exchange with SVA MPS Art Therapy. The students are participating alongside some first year MPS Art Therapy students in an intensive Community Access course. The first day of this course included a visit to Materials for the Arts in Long Island City, a organization dedicated to providing recycled materials for art education at public schools and nonprofits. The visit was incorporated into the curriculum to share the resource with out visiting students, as well as to gather materials for an upcoming special project. The vast warehouse of donated and recycled materials was a novelty to explore; materials ranged from discarded books and clothing items, to vintage postcards and buttons, to tiles and fabric. Patrick Byrne, a CIT student, called the warehouse “a treasure trove” and expressed his connection to recycled materials in his own art process. He also shared his appreciation for the resource and acknowledged that he wished there was a similar organization in Cork City. It was exciting to utilize such a dynamic community resource that successfully counters the patterns of waste and excess in modern society.
The theme of recycling and reusing materials was continued in the second day of the course. SVA students are required to create a visual journal detailing their exchange experience as part of the curriculum. In preparation for this Aaron Cockle, MPS Art Therapy Graduate Advisor, led a workshop on creating sketchbooks from recycled paper. The basis for the workshop is in Aaron’s own art practice; recycled sketchbooks are a regular part of his creative process in creating comics and zines. A range of old event flyers, calendars and even tea bag wrappers were torn, folded and bound to create some truly unique sketchbooks. The class created in a flurry of activity; some students made as many as five separate books while others spent time working on one intricate piece. At the end of the workshop all participants placed their work on the same table. One CIT student commented that the various sizes and shapes looked like the Manhattan skyline; there was a hushed moment where the class observed their books, together in one space. It was agreed that the materials and guidance facilitated an frenzy of inspiration–culminating in a diverse and lovely range of work.