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Monarchs find serenity over the rainbow

Valley College’s art gallery hosted Color Connection: A Creative Mindfulness Workshop, where students could destress.

By Milan Rafaelov, Staff Writer

Valley students and faculty relax during an art workshop held in the campus art gallery on Wednesday. Participants included (L-R) Alex Ojeda, Francis Hurwit, Droobie Pooh Haynes, Jennifer Montenegro and Shereen Saiyed. (Violett De Jean | Valley Star)

Jennifer Montenegro leads a creative workshop that provided a therapeutic watercolor painting experience at Valley College’s art gallery yesterday, leaving its attendees in a serene state.

The tables were situated so that everyone was facing each other and each table provided a watercolor palette, brush, and paper. Montenegro, an art professor with a background in therapeutic studies, guides attendees, teaching how to activate the watercolors properly and explains different brush stroke techniques.

“Imagine seeing the color blue, perhaps the sky, notice the calming effect of the color blue, your psyche and well-being,” said Montenegro, at the beginning of the workshop. “Visualize violet, this is the color of imagination.”

Droobie Pooh Haynes, a kinesiology major painted a rainbow at Color Connection yesterday, a workshop that was created by Jenene Nagy. (Violett De Jean | Valley Star)

Starting off the event with a guided meditation, Jennifer Montenegro tells the 11 audience members to close their eyes and visualize different colors while Over the Rainbow by Israel Kamakawiwoole plays in the background.

“It's about the process today, not the product,” she says, reminding the audience to take their time and allow the creative process to flow without judgment.

The professor's calm nature was easy to follow and the directions were simple, make a rainbow using the tools provided. Everyone began activating the first color and Montenegro led by holding her paper up for everyone to see and follow. The next 45 minutes seemed quiet and tranquil with each person deeply focused on their work.

Stress is unlikely to disappear any time soon and while some students may turn to questionable coping mechanisms, art has served as a therapeutic strategy for adaptation to stress throughout history.

Guests had a feel for the rhythm used in each brush stroke and in how the texture of the paint works itself onto the page. Monarchs were ready to start a new page, freely painting anything their hearts desired. The workshop went 15 minutes overtime, but only because people wanted to stay and finish their masterpieces.

Those leaving the event looked relaxed and peacefully satisfied thanks to Jenene Nagy and Jenniffer Montenegro for putting on an easygoing and creative event.


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