The Wayne State Saturday Art Therapy Workshop, a virtual 10-week program open to children and adults, began Sept. 19 and will run until Nov. 21.

The workshop is supervised by WSU adjunct faculty member and Art Therapist Deb Duranczyk, College of Education associate professor Holly Feen-Calligan and WSU graduate art therapy students.

Beginning in 1992, Feen-Calligan said she started the workshop as an opportunity for art therapy students to experience working with different populations and serving the community. This year over 20 people have signed up for the workshop and the rest of the applicants are on a wait list. 

The workshop is an experience for children and adults in both individual and group settings, and serves as a practicum class for WSU graduate art therapy students, Durancyzk said. The graduate students create and facilitate the sessions, which are geared toward promoting self-awareness along with personal-growth, while concentrating on personal goals of each person registered. 

Participants are asked what they want to get out of the workshop and the graduate students then plan the curriculum, which is refined on a weekly basis, Feen-Calligan said. 

The children’s group is designed for ages five to 18 and the young adult group typically encompasses young people with disabilities, such as cognitive impairment or autism, Duranczyk said. The adult group participants work on a theme for the semester or individualized projects. 

Different methods of therapy for children can be helpful, said Erika Bocknek, WSU associate professor of educational psychology. 

“Creative expression is a well researched strategy for children to both work through emotional experiences and develop resilient strategies for confronting future experiences with stress,” Bocknek said. 

Since the workshop will be virtual, Feen-Calligan said there are tasks participants can do to prepare at home.

“Assemble art supplies yarns, fabrics, glue sticks, scissors,” Feen-Calligan said. “Empty your junk drawer. Clear off your table or desk and practice the technology.” 

Participants’ artwork will be shared virtually at the final workshop instead of the typical closing reception, Durancyzk said. 

For people unable to attend, an alternative with some of the same curriculum is the Mental Health and Wellness Clinic, Feen-Calligan said.

Contact Holly Feen-Calligan at (313)577-1823 or hfeen@wayne.edu; or Deb Duranczyk at (734)355-8660 or ddurancz@wash.k12.mi.us for more information on the Saturday Art Therapy Workshop.


Bethany Owens is a contributing writer for The South End. She can be reached at gx6114@wayne.edu

Cover photo provided by Deb Duranczyk.