Jessica Kennedy accepted into the MPS Art Therapy program at SVA

Posted by on Mar 26, 2016 in Art education, VCS Students | No Comments

We recently learned that VCS senior Jessica Kennedy has been accepted into SVA’s Master of Professional Studies Art Therapy program, which she will enter at the beginning of the 2016-2017 academic year. Here’s a short text that Jessica wrote for us about herself and her decision to pursue a career in art therapy:

As a teenager, I experienced more than the average angst due to environmental stressors. Finding myself in an extreme emotional upset coupled with an animalistic need to rectify it, I discovered a way of tangibly expressing and diminishing these overwhelming emotional responses through making collages. To make these collages, I cut out images from magazines and incorporated my own written text with them.

After a short period of time in making these collages, I found myself searching for specific images I could not find in the magazines.  Here I turned to the Internet, which only quenched my specific image needs for so long. I then began photographing the images myself which introduced me to my love of photography and more traditionally accepted art forms.

I used art as my catharsis, a healthy coping mechanism. This came despite the fact that I had never been formally taught in an art class. Finding such pleasure in making art when it came time to go to college, I decided to attend SVA for my undergraduate degree. Here I was not only taught formally about the mediums, but for the first time I was also given knowledge of conceptual ideas in art, the history of art, as well as the art world at large. With the support of SVA, I started producing more refined artworks that were more introspective than what I had been previously making; through this process my self-awareness also became increasingly heightened.

Recently, I’ve produced artworks about abusive relationships and the death of a loved one. At the last two gallery openings where my work was displayed, I had multiple people cry to me and confide in me their stories about the subjects my artworks are about. While I create my art as a way to express my emotions, I also produce it with the intention for it to produce a safe space for dialog as well as a comforting feeling of universality and understanding surrounding upsetting and alienating experiences or subjects. I had stopped making art just for my own emotional needs, but as a way to connect and help others. I realized that I did not want to pursue artmaking as a career and get lost in the politics of the art world as well as producing art for commercial reasons to sustain myself financially. I wanted to help people with art. I knew that if I could help people with art the same way art helps me when I’m feeling blue, my life would be fulfilled.

Upon this realization, I knew the only career choice for me was to become an art therapist. When looking into the different graduate programs, SVA’s was of course the best. I have already found a family and home in the VCS department at SVA, and I knew I’d find the same lovely place in the Art Therapy Masters department as well. So my only application went out to SVA, and I’m delighted to say that I have received my acceptance letter saying that I was one of an elite few selected, and saying they are sure I will be a great contributor! I’m humbled and honored to be starting this next chapter at the school I already know and love. I can’t begin to express how grateful I am for the support system that is VCS for helping me immense amounts in order for me to get to this point!

We’d like to offer our congratulations to Jessica, and also encourage people who’d like to know about the MPS Art Therapy program to visit the department’s website and its page on the SVA website.

Visual & Critical Studies