Reaching out from the art

A PASSION for art, nature and helping youths led Warwick resident Christina Self to offer art therapy workshops.

Ms Self previously worked for a local health provider, running sexual health and art therapy programs, but they ceased when government funding was removed.

She found a demand for the sexual health classes to continue, so decided to also offer art therapy and established Red Ginger Services.

“I’m really passionate about art therapy because I have seen it at the grassroots,” she said.

“Younger kids don’t have the words to describe issues, a lot of kids go through things and a lot love art but there’s not a lot of creative programs out there.”

Her first program, Art in the Park, offers two-hour guided sessions for eight to 17-year-olds.

Run by Ms Self and a qualified art therapist at locations around Perth, including Carine Open Space on January 14 and Mindarie Marina on January 20.

She also hopes to run an extended program during Term 1.

“Whether they share or not, the process of art is very relaxing,” Ms Self said.

“Being in the outdoors, they put their phones away, they’re not in front of the TV or playing video games, they re-engage with other kids.”

She said it was a safe way for children to work on an issue.

“When kids separate the issue from themselves there’s an amazing change in them, it opens up a conversation if the kid wants to,” she said.

Ms Self said art therapy was suitable for children of all ages, especially those who had experienced something traumatic or had English as a second language but they did not need to be struggling with an issue to attend.

“With a child, you just don’t know what their gifts and likes are if they’re not exposed to them,” she said.

“Give it a go – if they enjoy it the benefits are immense, I’ve seen them.”