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USA: Pairing Local Murals with Performance Art to Promote Mental Health

"St. Petersburg Arts Alliance (SPAA) is a nonprofit organization that advocates, educates and supports the local creative community. “Art reveals the beauty of life, which is especially important when we experience depression, anxiety, loneliness and stress,” explains Terry Marks, Arts Alliance CEO and originator of the idea behind the project Murals in Mind.

[...] Murals in Mind brings a community of artists together to support and uplift wellness for all, because art heals. SPAA understands that Murals in Mind will not cure those who struggle, but it can be a public and daily reminder that there is hope, help and resources to provide a shift in thinking and action.”

When SPAA officials were looking for a mental health expert to weigh in on their 12 selected SHINE Mural Festival murals in downtown St. Petersburg as well as the performance art paired with them, they turned to Paige Dickinson, Ph.D., an associate professor of human development at Eckerd College, who also is a clinical health psychologist and a board-certified drama therapist who specializes in arts and medicine programming. She also co-authored the book The Drama Therapy Decision Tree (Intellect Books, 2021).

“There are programs at a variety of locations, usually in large cities, that look at arts and healing,” Dickinson explains. “This is the first one I had seen that looks specifically at using murals within a community that are already established, and to connect that with other artistic forms … music, movement, poetry … with the intent to bring healing with them. That got me really excited. I had never seen that before.”

Read the full article by Tom Zucco for the Eckerd College News

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