November 05, 2021

Mary Andrus Discusses Art Therapy with Oregon Magazine 1859

In a recent interview with Oregon Magazine 1859, art therapy program director Mary Andrus discusses why art therapy is important, its connection to the vagus nerve, and how to try it out.


Andrus begins by explaining that art therapy is “for anybody open to using the creative process to find and get to know themselves. Art therapy isn’t about drawing pretty pictures … it’s about tapping into who you are inside—and maybe drawing really ugly pictures—and giving yourself permission to play and make a mess and explore a deeper relationship with yourself. It’s really beneficial to anybody who’s willing to take that risk in getting to know themselves in a deeper way.”


In fact, Andrus says that participating in art therapy has physical health benefits as well.


“Art therapists have the skills to know what materials might best support people in helping create and reach their goals. [Your body] may need to pound clay, rip up paper, untangle some yarn or weave. Working with an art therapist can help you find your voice and material and medium that will support your internal vagal needs.”


For those who would like to learn more about art therapy or participate in an open studio session, two options are available online each week. In the Art for Social Change open studio, participants explore social, racial, or political current events and create art and dialogue about their impact on our communities as we work together toward social change. In the Art Therapy open studio, participants may begin a new piece using a gentle prompt offered at the beginning of each session or work on their own new or ongoing pieces. Expect a short introduction, choose to work in silence or engage in conversation with others who choose to, and participate in a short recap on the making process at the end of the session.

Read the full article in Oregon Magazine 1859.


The mission of Lewis & Clark’s Art Therapy program is to prepare competent, creative, and reflective art therapists who are committed to equity-based clinical and community praxis. Students learn to apply relationally and socially attuned art therapy using art making to deepen awareness of self and others within societal and cultural contexts.

More information is available on our Art Therapy program page.