This spring, the Wright Museum has been partnering with The Richardson School in Beloit, a therapeutic day school for students who need specialized educational, behavioral, and social support. When The Richardson School reached out to the Wright Museum about programming, Collections Manager James Pearson immediately saw the possibilities for Beloit College students.
Kyleigh Rivera'17, a studio art major and Wright Museum attendant, was already interested in a career utilizing art as therapy. She is now volunteering at The Richardson School, assisting art therapy instructor Sasha Spataro as she facilitates therapeutic art sessions. As part of Kyleigh's work, she is helping to curate a Richardson School exhibit called "Unearthing the Artist Within" at the Wright Museum. It opens on Thursday, March 10 and showcases the student's work.
Art therapy at The Richardson School creates a space for children who often miss out on extracurricular activities in their home districts. The creative process involved in expressing themselves artistically helps students resolve issues while developing and managing behaviors and feelings, reducing stress, and improving self esteem and awareness. Art therapy essentially improves a person’s physical, mental, and emotional well-being.
"I wanted to help students find their artists within, and in the process, learn more about who they are," says Spataro. "We are very excited about this collaboration with the Wright Museum of Art. We feel this is a great opportunity for our students to show their true abilities.”
The Richardson School is dedicated to students with autism, learning disabilities, emotional disabilities, brain injuries, and cognitive special needs. When students with disabilities struggle with their current educational environment, The Richardson School is an alternative that stabilizes the child’s behavior in a therapeutic setting while helping them to thrive academically. The art therapy program is one of several therapeutic programs offered at The Richardson School to help its students become successful.
The opening reception will be held March 10 from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. The Richardson School staff will be on hand to answer questions about its school, programming, and the support it gives to special education students. The exhibit runs through March 15.