Olivia Stymiest and Madisyn Belyea Find Rewarding Outlet for Creativity at Open Your Art

Olivia Stymiest and Madisyn Belyea have found a new and rewarding outlet for their creativity as interns for Open Your Art.

The Visual Arts and Psychology majors are training in different mediums and teaching art classes for children, adults who have undergone trauma, and people of all ages with exceptionalities.

“Before this we were developing ideas in class but didn’t have any other outlet for them other than personal practice,” Stymiest said. “This is allowing me to think about what I’m learning in class, apply it, and further my understanding by teaching others.”

Stymiest and Belyea have received ample one-on-one guidance from Open Your Art’s Executive Director Angela Black and Assistant Director Amond McKenna, especially in instructing, interacting with vulnerable populations, and running a business. These skills will be invaluable as both students intend on pursuing a master’s in art therapy after completing their Bachelor of Arts.

“The art we do is therapeutic for everyone,” Belyea said. “It opens you up to expressing something you may not feel comfortable talking about.”

Working with various age groups and exceptionalities at Open Your Art has refined their skills in creative thinking and problem solving but has also been humbling.

“You can see a lot of progression in the clientele they serve,” Stymiest said.

“This is a really good part of their week and it’s nice to know we can be a part of that and be a positive influence in someone’s life,” Belyea added.

It’s also been encouraging for the STU duo to see and experience how an education in visual arts can translate into a successful business and career.

“It’s really gratifying seeing people work in fine arts and doing it successfully,” Stymiest said. “It’s brought to life how all people can benefit from creative expression.”

Stymiest and Belyea are hoping to stay involved with Open Your Art after their internship ends—an opportunity they credit to the Office of Experiential Learning and Community Engagement.

“Clara Santacruz and Jessica Hughes have been very helpful all the way through. They have so much to offer,” Stymiest said.

“It’s great for everyone,” Belyea added. “You don’t have to be a specific kind of student to take advantage of it.”

To learn more about internships and experiential learning, click here.