Drawing out the hidden value of art classes

Along with satisfying that creative impulse, art provides much-needed time out. 

According to Marie McGregor of Seasons Art Classes, those stress relieving, mental health benefits are what she hears about the most.

She says some students come to her classes with complicated and overwhelming feelings; some just for fun and some because they’ve always wanted to learn to draw and paint.

During the 14-week course, Marie says some choose to share the reasons they decided to join an art class.

In one case, after losing a partner, a student came to the classes for friendship, company and new connections while fulfilling a desire to return to a love of sketching and drawing.

“Art helped fill the void – this person had felt isolated after focusing on being a primary career for weeks and months. Art also helped them refocus on something other than profound grief and loss,” Marie says.

She says older, retired or semi-retired people, some new to the area, some living in villages, others still in the family home, are all keen to meet new people, stay connected with the community and make new friends.

“One person lost dexterity in their fingers due to arthritis and was no longer able to use fine motor skills to continue their usual creative outlet as a jeweller. Art allowed them to continue to be creative while learning new skills.”

Some students have high stress jobs and Marie says art classes allow them to spend time on something completely different, and free the mind.

Those with very busy lives, including business owners and parents of young families, are just looking for some time out to focus on themselves and their interests.

Marie says whatever the reasons may be for someone to take up her art classes, the sessions provide a supportive group.

“It’s not just about learning to paint and draw, that’s for sure. It’s a safe space to talk about feelings and experiences – a way to build community in a fun interactive environment.”

Marie’s Seasons Art Classes are held at Red Beach Surf Club. Info: www.seasonsarthibiscus.com/