Feeling frazzled after the holidays? We invited patrons to transform plain white boxes into unique creations through collage, all while learning about art therapy and mindfulness in a relaxing environment. Attendees walked away with completed boxes that illustrated their feelings and matched their personal style. All supplies were provided.
We partnered with Silver Hill Hospital , a local nonprofit focusing on mental health and addiction. We wanted to host a simple craft program and offer a chance to talk about art therapy and mindfulness. We chose early January as people often feel frantic coming off the holiday season.
Early on, we decided we wanted to host two back-to-back programs on January 14. The first, which took place from noon to 1 p.m., was geared toward adults and teenagers. The event was included in an e-blast focusing on "New Year, New You." We also submitted press releases to our local papers and included it in a newsletter for local events for seniors.
We spent $75 on plain white craft boxes . We used discarded magazines, glue sticks and scissors that we already had in house. Silver Hill Hospital provided Silly Putty, a stress ball and USB drives loaded with guided meditations for participants to begin filling their boxes with.
Before the event, we set up our conference room in one long table, boardroom style, so participants would have a chance to talk with one another while crafting. Each seat was given a box, scissors, glue stick and a stack of magazines to share. We also set up background music to play throughout the event.
Silver Hill's art therapist kicked off the event by talking about art therapy and explaining the activity. She instructed participants and said they could decorate their boxes however they liked, but that their boxes should evoke feelings of calmness and relaxation. She went on to say that many choose to decorate the outside of their boxes as they present themselves to the world and decorate the inside with images depicting their hopes, inner feelings and dreams. There was no right or wrong way, but what they were creating was a sanctuary for themselves.
With this five-minute intro, participants began thumbing through magazines and pasting pictures on their box. Some focused on serene shades of blue, others added motivational sayings and text, and one participant focused on images from around the world of places he wanted to visit. Each attendee left with a unique box that hopefully speaks just to them.
The hope is that participants went home after the event, filled their boxes with items that help them relax, and will go to them when they're feeling stressed or overwhelmed.
Between the two events, we had close to 50 attendees. We were thrilled to partner with Silver Hill Hospital, a leading provider in mental health services for our community. Participants were delighted to collage, an activity many of us haven't done since childhood, and there were already talks about what items they were going to fill their boxes with.
I'm so happy we hosted two programs for two different audiences. Both groups interacted with their boxes completely differently, and it was so fun to see! This event would work as a focused program for teens, families, seniors or anyone in between.
When saving discarded magazines, make sure to save a variety. Some participants had very specific ideas of what is relaxing to them. While some wanted water and beach scenes, others wanted images of babies. One person even used a giant picture of Justin Bieber! It was helpful to have gossip magazines alongside nature, men's health, etc.
About This Library
Darien Library is located in the bedroom town of Darien, Conn., about 35 miles outside New York City. The library is among the busiest in the state, with over 1,300 people visiting on an average day, the highest per capita circulation in Connecticut, with more than 32 items per resident, and nearly a quarter of a million Wi-Fi and computer uses per year. In addition, the library presents over 1,500 public events annually, hosting a lineup of bestselling authors, the latest in coding and technology classes, and workshops for small business owners and entrepreneurs.