Art therapy students create mural at Early Connections

Nine Mercyhurst College seniors in Cathlyn Hahn’s art therapy seminar class are taking their paints, brushes and collective talent to Early Connections, 704 State St., where they are transforming three walls of a playroom into a mural depicting a scene from the children’s book, The Rainbow Zebra.

In addition to planning and painting the mural, the group also will throw a party at the center to dedicate their work on Monday, Feb. 20, at 11 a.m.

Early Connections is an organization devoted to childcare needs and provides early childhood education. Jan Obringer, vice president of early care and education, said the mural is a jungle scene painted in vibrant, primary colors featuring near life-size animals that delight children and staff alike.

"The children are very curious as they watch the picture unfold, and the staff is extremely excited," she said. “The mural really makes the room."

"This is exceptionally done," added Hahn, who is marking the fourth year her art therapy seminar class has done a mural as a service learning project. "It is so colorful. It is really a good one."

The Mercyhurst seniors are volunteering a minimum of 10 hours during winter term to complete the service learning project. Students include Kelly Koble, Julie Kruszewski, Ashley Brandon, Kari Huck, Regina Malacarne, Kristen Peffrey, Brynn Keefe, Kathryn Ball and Heather Crawford.

The Mercyhurst art therapy program employs the creative process to reconcile human emotional conflicts and to foster self-awareness, personal health and growth. Art therapy is a growing field, particularly in the aftermath of 9-11, as it continues to be used as a therapeutic tool in helping people deal with their pain through art, Hahn said.
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