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Art Museum And College Of Psychology Team Up To Provide Art-Focused Virtual Wellness Activities

Art Museum And College Of Psychology Team Up To Provide Art-Focused Virtual Wellness Activities

Finding balance and maintaining good mental and physical health is vitally important during these challenging times. Recognizing that art can be a catalyst for well-being, creativity and social engagement, NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale and Nova Southeastern University's (NSU) College of Psychology have teamed up to provide free, art-focused wellness resources that can be accessed virtually at (NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale is a division of Nova Southeastern University.)

"These virtual offerings follow the same holistic approach that forms the basis of the museum's programming," said Bonnie Clearwater, NSU Art Museum Director and Chief Curator. "Through our partnership with NSU's College of Psychology, we are able to further share the expertise and knowledge of the university's faculty to expand our focus during COVID-19."

"Creativity, art, and aesthetics have long been an important area in psychology, counseling, and art therapy in the search to understand how art improves the human experience, said Karen Grosby, Ed.D., Dean of NSU College of Psychology. "Our faculty uses art therapy techniques across the globe with refugees, those living in poverty, and those facing traumatic experiences to foster change, connections, and hope."

Virtual resources include:

Videos by NSU College of Psychology Faculty

Informative presentations by NSU College of Psychology faculty on varied topics also include practical tips that can be adapted at home. In the first video of this series, NSU Professor, Mercedes Ballbê ter Maat, Ph.D., a past president of the American Art Therapy Association,

discusses an arts-based therapy program that was effectively implemented to improve the quality of life of impoverished children in three after-school programs in Peru. She also shares ideas for incorporating therapeutic art activities at home, when little or no existing art supplies are available.

Dr. ter Maat is a licensed professional counselor and board-certified/registered art therapist with over 33 years of combined experience as a counselor educator, mental health counselor, school counselor and art therapist. She actively participates in humanitarian work, most recently in Peru, Argentina, Swaziland and Lebanon, and her research interests include enhancing the quality of life of immigrant, minority families and refugees in crisis by identifying risk and promoting protective factors through school and community-based interventions.

Additional webinars on the NSU College of Psychology website cover subjects such as meeting the socio-economic needs of children and teens in a COVID-19 world, social and emotional connectedness, homeschooling challenges, and the human and animal bond. These resources can be accessed at:

Creativity Exploration Virtual Workshops

NSU Art Museum's Creativity Exploration workshops combine hands-on art-making with a mindfulness component to promote the benefits of creativity and the mind to-body experience. (Studies have shown that just 45 minutes of creative activity a day can reduce stress and increase mental clarity and relaxation.) Activities are designed to produce a sense of well-being, expand participants' perceptions of forms and increase brain connectivity through visual and cognitive stimulation. Works from the Museum's permanent collection serve as inspiration for the workshop themes, and participants learn about art and artists as they enhance their creativity. Creativity Exploration was one of NSU Art Museum's most popular adult programs prior to COVID-19, and it has since been adapted to further address the needs of those sheltering at home.

Videos by Artists in NSU Art Museum Exhibitions

Many artists acknowledge that making art is an essential means for them to work out their own trauma and anxieties, and suggest that art can provide viewers with a sense of well-being that will also help them cope with life's challenges. This premise is one of the underlying themes of NSU Art Museum's current exhibition, Happy! Through short videos, artists from current NSU Art Museum exhibitions discuss what it means to make art during the time of COVID-19.

• Eat a Rainbow Initiative

NSU Art Museum's Eat a Rainbow initiative, sponsored by Memorial Healthcare System, is part of the Museum on the Move education program and encourages children and teens to eat a healthy balance of fruits and vegetables to promote a strong mind and body.

About NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale

Address: One East Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, FL

Social media:
Phone: 954-525-5500

Founded in 1958, NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale is a premier destination for exhibitions and programs encompassing many facets of civilization's visual history. Located midway between Miami and Palm Beach in downtown Fort Lauderdale's arts and entertainment district, the Museum's distinctive 83,000 square-foot modernist building, which opened in 1986, was designed by renowned architect Edward Larrabee Barnes and contains over 25,000 square feet of exhibition space, the 256-seat Horvitz auditorium, a museum store and café. In 2008, the Museum became part of Nova Southeastern University (NSU), one of the largest private research universities in the United States. Among the Museum's notable holdings are: the largest collection of art in the U.S. by the avant-garde Cobra artists of Copenhagen, Brussels and Amsterdam; the world's largest collection of works by American painter and Ashcan School founder William Glackens (1870-1938); notable collections of works by Latin American, Cuban, and African artists; and contemporary art. Two scholarly research centers complement the collections: The Dr. Stanley and Pearl Goodman Latin American Art Study Center and the William J. Glackens Study Center.

Exhibitions and programs at NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale are made possible in part by a challenge grant from the David and Francie Horvitz Family Foundation. Funding is also provided by the City of Fort Lauderdale, AutoNation, Community Foundation of Broward, Funding Arts Broward, Broward County Board of County Commissioners as recommended by the Broward Cultural Council and Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau, the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture. NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale is accredited by the American Association of Museums.

About NSU College of Psychology

The College of Psychology offers undergraduate programs in psychology and behavioral neuroscience, master's program in psychology and counseling, and specialist and doctoral programs in school psychology and clinical psychology. The Psychology Service Center provides individual, group and family therapy to the community, including in specialized areas. With nationally recognized faculty, the college's mission is training, research and service aimed at society's pressing needs.

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Media Contacts:

Jessica Graves, NSU Art Museum Communications/PR Manager


Donna Fields


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