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Art therapy’s annual capstone presentations go virtual, fostering record participation and a global connection

June 04, 2020

With spring semester in full swing, third-year art therapy students were immersed in creating the art that would be shown at the culmination of their tenure as graduate students – the annual capstone presentation. Scheduled to take place in mid-April, the annual capstone presentations are traditionally a time for graduating art therapy candidates to present a piece of art, or a body of work, that represents them as both an artist and an art therapist. Family, friends, and colleagues gather on the graduate campus to experience the presentations and take part in networking, and an evening reception serves as a valuable recruiting opportunity for potential students. But in March, COVID-19 made its way to Oregon and the landscape for end-of-year gatherings and traditions changed seemingly overnight.

With support from fellow art therapy faculty member Kris Bella and grad school staff, art therapy program director Mary Andrus quickly reimagined the capstone presentations as an online, interactive experience. Student work was displayed in an online gallery and they delivered their presentations via a pre-recorded presentation, followed by live Q and A over Zoom. What began as an unexpected and disappointing circumstance quickly morphed into something beautiful that fostered connection and interaction across the globe.

“We had over 160 people attend our virtual art therapy capstone presentations,” reported Andrus. “International students were able to watch from the other side of the world. Family and friends from all over the country were able to watch from their homes. In addition, 30 prospective and incoming students joined us as well. It was a huge success.”

The capstone galleries are available on the art therapy website; Andrus encourages those interested in the program to spend some time in them.

“Our students did an incredible job,” said Andrus. “I am so proud of them and very impressed by the quality of their work. From their start at Marylhurst three years ago to completing this milestone at Lewis & Clark, it was incredible to witness.”

More information about the art therapy program can be found on our website.

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