The Observer is a student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame, Saint Mary's & Holy Cross. Learn about us.



McWell, Raclin-Murphy museum explore wellness through art

| Monday, November 20, 2023

Jenna Abu-Lughod | The Observer
Students paint in Duncan Student Center Friday during an art and wellness event hosted by McWell and a student committee of the Raclin-Murphy museum.

The Raclin Murphy Museum of Art’s Student Programming Committee (SPC) and the McDonald Center for Student Well-Being (McWell) co-hosted an art and wellness event in Duncan Student Center on Friday. Dozens of students showed to paint while enjoying cookies and tea provided by McWell.

Through the event, SPC and McWell hoped to emphasize the overlap between wellness and creative activities such as art. They also wished to highlight the various resources McWell has for students and the opening of the Raclin Murphy Museum of Art on Nov. 30.

“The purpose of the event today is to look at the intersection of art and wellness which is why we are collaborating with McWell,” senior and co-coordinator of SPC Gabrielle Spontak said.

McWell senior fellow Tai Ha said he reached out to Raclin’s SPC with the goal of organizing a joint event to emphasize that wellness can be enhanced through art.

“We think that art is a good component to enhancing wellness and overall well-being. That is why we reached out to Raclin-Murphy,” Ha said. “We felt that spreading awareness of art can help people enhance their social, environmental and intellectual well-being.”

Attendees were provided with paint, canvases and a couple paintings they could choose to recreate. Cookies and tea were also available. 

“[SPC] provided the art materials and [McWell] provided the snacks and tea,” Ha said. 

The two sample paintings, selected from the museum’s “The Battle of Mid-Century” gallery, were chosen due to their abstract and inspirational nature.

“[The paintings] are two of our most iconic pieces. We picked them because they are a little more abstract and so students can work off of them or just be inspired by them,” Spontak said.

The hosts were optimistic that the event would provide students with a relaxing wellness break, especially as everyone finishes up assignments before Thanksgiving break.

“We hope that this will give students a mindfulness break in the middle of their day,” Spontak said. “We also want to highlight the resources that McWell has and show that the museum is a great resource for wellness and inspiration for students.”

Some students attended the event to take a break from studying, while others simply appreciated the opportunity to paint.

Senior Maria Murphy said that she enjoys spending her Fridays either catching up on work or taking care of herself, and therefore chose to attend the event.

“I don’t have classes on Fridays, so it’s nice to find some activities to do to take a break from classwork. I like that I can dedicate a day to either catching up on work or self-care,” Murphy said.

From the background music to the supplies, the SPC and McWell put a lot of effort into creating a comfortable space for students to relax. 

“I find a lot of calmness in different forms of art and music,” senior Caroline Ashworth said. “I play the piano and so I really appreciate the soft piano music they are playing in the background.” 

After a stressful week with several exams, freshman Brooke Jones attended the event to relax and embrace her love for painting. 

“Sitting down and painting after a hard week is really nice,” Jones said. “Especially because it can be hard to get supplies, it is nice to have them available at an event like this.” 

With the event being as successful as it was, McWell and the SPC are hoping to collaborate again in the future. They aim to continue showing students that art can be a tool for wellness. 

“Since the Raclin museum is opening soon, we want to do more events in the future. Maybe an art tour in the museum or another event like this one,” Ha said.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

About Jenna Abu-Lughod

Contact Jenna