The Craft Center’s “Mandala Mondays” gives students and community artistic way to unwind

Mandala Mondays

By Iraiza de Vera

Arts & Entertainment Contributor

Colored pencils, markers, and sheets of paper with intricate mandala designs are supplied free of charge for participants to utilize every Monday in the Craft Center.

The Craft Center paired up with CAPS, Counseling and Psychological Services, to design a creative environment that would bring people together and support mental wellness.

Mandala Mondays place for the Corvallis community to unwind from stress and for students to take an artistic approach to their study break.

Mandalas are symbolic patterns, usually in the form of a circle. There are many worksheets to choose from with detailed patterns of animals, flowers, nature spirits and kaleidoscopes.

Susan Bourque, the Craft Center manager believes that coloring and participating in artistic activities helps the brain in more ways than just keeping it pre-occupied.

“I feel that it frees up another portion of your brain. It’s another way of viewing things. I think doing something relaxing and taking a step back helps students gear back up and go into their more stressful and demanding academic work,” Bourque said.

While coloring, participants socialize and have the opportunity to meet new people. The Craft Center is open to both students and non-students, which creates a diverse group of people to mingle with.

“You might be talking to someone who is a whole generation beyond you, with art as the common language and that’s really special to see,” Bourque said.

Those who attend Mandala Mondays are asked to fill out a brief survey on their experience to provide the Craft Center with feedback on their ongoing event. Libby Yamada, management senior, collected data from the past four weeks to observe how people are affected by participating.

Yamada found that there is a significant difference in reported stress levels before and after attending.

The average stress levels in participants lowered by approximately three rankings after the coloring session.

“I feel like it’s stress-relieving because it’s almost mindless,” said Jessica Benson, biology sophomore.

“It was nice to take my mind off the big things — whether it be exams or papers.”

No matter what level of skill people have, the Craft Center aims to provide a place where artistic expression can be facilitated.

“I equate learning arts and crafts very much to learning an instrument. Everyone can do it, some people might pick it up quicker than others, but everyone can reach a level of proficiency and create something lovely — but they have to put the time and effort in,” Bourque said.

Bourque enjoys seeing people learn to harness a craft and take pride in what they create.

Throughout her time working with the Craft Center, she has witnessed the dedication students put towards a project. Baroque hopes to foster creativity for others and encourages people to come to the weekly events held in the Craft Center.

Mandala Mondays will continue for the rest of the term from 1 to 3 p.m. in the basement of the Student Experience Center.

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