By Vivien Jerez and Devon Martinez

Canvases face out to the world, and so we usually focus on how art affects the viewer.

The recent Expressive Arts Project’s Seedlings Arts Festival at Centennial turned that around. The event focused on art therapy and how it can put you on path toward a career in which you can express yourself.

The different art genres featured provided many perspectives to assist students affected by trauma.

The festival’s activities included art students painting their version of the American dream, an echo frequency therapist, a tattoo artist, and students were encouraged to participate in a drum circle led by PPCC professor Bruce Anderson. Giant coloring pages were also available for students to color.

“There’s always been an awareness on how sound makes us feel, but there hasn’t been a ton of studies or investment on how sound affects the physical structure of our bodies,” Steffany Suze Boucher said.

Boucher is a wellness coach who uses echo frequency therapy to help her patients relax and recover.

Boucher had tables dedicated to her installation art and sound therapy. When she was a child, she walked in her sleep. This sparked an interest in why she values echo therapy so much.

Boucher works with people who have PTSD or have experienced trauma, and her goal is to assist people in finding balance and calmness in their minds as they work with other traditional therapists.

She is hopeful for the future growth of sound therapy since the government is planning to focus more of its resources on this field.

According to EAP founder Laura BenAmots, “everyone succeeds if they have the ability to express themselves.”

Gail Perry, a tattoo artist, recently reclaimed his passion for art after serving the government for nine years. Perry had a station with examples of his tattoo art hanging around him.

“Tattoos can make people feel different and feel better about themselves,” Perry said.

Bruce Anderson, a professor at PPCC, led a drum circle in the Courtyard where anyone was welcome to join in.                                    

Four advanced artists worked to encapsulate “the American dream. “

One of the artists, Marc Reific, focused on teaching art (mostly mural paintings) to Federal Correctional Complex inmates to help turn their negative emotions into constructive creative outlets. After noticing the effects his murals had on others he began to paint around the city. He created a coloring book titled Meet Your Monsters which is used in the Colorado prison system.

“That’s developed in me teaching people a way to have self-expression as a means to, like, put their energy in places that are productive instead of destructive,” Refic said.

Abbie Mills focused on the importance of intersectionality. Dominic Frankmore focused on nature and the way it can bring people together. Jordan Gates focused on escaping toxic work environments, and Lesey Cevas focused on society’s obsession with technology.