Therapeutic Art for Art Educators

Columbia Public Schools educators were taught therapeutic art during a professional development session led by Mizzou College of Education & Human Development faculty.

Linda Helmick

Linda Helmick, Assistant Professor of Art Education in the Department of Learning, Teaching and Curriculum, brought a therapeutic arts curriculum to secondary art teachers in Columbia Public Schools. This curriculum encourages self-care through mindfulness, meditation, and reflection, while also participating in an artmaking exercise.

Helmick has used this curriculum with underserved populations, including homeless and incarcerated populations, as well as people who have experienced trauma.

“The goal is to create a supportive space with meditation, artmaking experiences, and reflection to acknowledge their emotional exhaustion,” said Helmick. “Sharing stories enabled each of them to feel supported and restored.”

“In my 20 plus years in public education, I have never seen a time where it is more necessary to explore the mental health of our kids in the classroom and our teachers,” said James Melton, Director of Fine Arts Columbia Public Schools. “The time that we spent with Dr. Helmick allowed us to think deeply about how we might examine our current teaching practices while addressing the critical needs of our students and ourselves.”

“The workshop was a much-needed break from the stressors of teaching and life,” said Julia Dunn, Secondary Art Education teacher at Hickman High School. “The process from start to finish encouraged this freedom; connecting to others, connecting to self, exploring through the visual language of color, line, shape, form texture and value, then reconnecting with others through our artwork and stories. No stress of getting it “right”, it was open and free, and at the same time complex and deeply meaningful.”

To learn more about the therapeutic art curriculum contact Linda Helmick at