House event encourages self-reflection

Self-expression through art is a great way for students to take a break during the day and sit down for some personal reflection and creative fun. On Monday Feb. 27, the Diversity Awareness House hosted an activity called “Por-trait Yourself” in Tomson Hall where students had the opportunity to draw themselves as they want to be seen. There were boxes of fresh Pause cookies and chips and dip for everyone who wanted to spend part of their afternoon focusing on themselves for a little bit.

Amanda Vergara ’17 began the event by explaining what each student should focus on in their respective portraits. Vergara invited them to illustrate what they think their emotional, physical, mental and spiritual strengths are. Paper and crayons were on every table for whoever wanted to take a crack at drawing themselves in a meaningful way.

After half an hour of drawing, Jabri Whirl ’18 led a large group dialogue with the participants. Whirl asked thoughtful questions about what the artists thought were the easiest or hardest strengths to draw. Whirl asked if the strengths they found were ones they’d always known about.

“The event itself is very reflective. It encourages you to think about your strengths. It seems like you always focus on your weaknesses,” participant Krysta Wetzel ’18 said.

Everyone’s portraits were extremely different. Some added lots of color, others opted for black and white. Some portraits focused on the artist themselves, while others drew the things that they felt symbolized their strengths.

Sharing was optional after the dialogue, and some people stuck around to snack and talk more about their masterpieces. Whirl felt that the event was a success, and shared where she got the idea.

“I took a class over interim about art and spirituality, and I focused a lot on how to use portraiture to express myself. So I came up with this idea, and everyone in the Diversity Awareness House thought it would be a cool event,” Whirl said.

All in all, their first event of the semester was a lot of fun and it promoted an important kind of diversity – diversity of thought. One of the other house residents said that we can expect two more events from the Diversity Awareness House in March.

If their next events are as fun and meditative as this one, it’s going to be a great spring for the honor house.

sovere1@stolaf.edu

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