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Florida Gulf Coast University
10501 FGCU Blvd, South
Fort Myers, FL 33965-6565
(239) 590-1000 or (800) 590-3428



Senior Project APRIL 2017

According to the
American Art Therapy Association, art therapy is a therapeutic practice using art, with the goal to improve or restore a patient’s functioning and his or her sense of personal well-being. I participated in an art therapy program called Opening Minds Through Art, or OMA. OMA specifically focuses on patients suffering from dementia, and their mission is to build bridges across age and cognitive barriers through art. We focused on the happiest moments of their lives, and connected them to the project we worked on. During those art therapy sessions, I saw how working abstractly with color, texture, and communication brought them back to the memories long lost. This experience increased my awareness of working with the elderly and how precious our memories are.

Memory Maps is a series of five paintings that incorporates what I learned as an art therapist intern. Working in a memory care facility, I witnessed the power art had in retrieving long lost memories in patients suffering from different stages of dementia. This led me to research abstract expressionism, color theory, and the success of art therapy. I then began to create my own set of paintings that were focused on specific personal memories of places and people in my life. Each painting was created by the emotions generated when I looked back on those places or people. The colors and textures reflected to these emotions.

I began this process by writing down memories, including emotions that went along with them. I then chose a color palette for each painting that I believe expresses those emotions. Each painting was created with acrylic paint applied with a variety of textural and technical methods including, mark marking, washes, and sponging. I used two of the
horizontal paintings to represent memories of my grandfather’s land in Georgia and different areas throughout New York. The three vertical paintings depict my relationship with important individuals including the relationship I have with my family, my romantic relationship, and the relationship with myself. This set of paintings essentially creates the map of me.