Group allows for stress relief during school day

MBC Reporter Rawley White uncovers why art classes remain popular for students.

Lauren Serge | Staff Writer

Discussion is brought together through art, the language that everyone speaks.

During second and third bell on Mondays, A Brush of Hope serves as a safe location where girls engage in an open conversation, then try a medium of art that relates to the lesson.

Junior Laney Nelson said being a part of the group helps her to better communicate and expand upon her artistic interests.

“Being a creative person, I take a lot of art classes at school, but unfortunately, they’re very structured, and you’re very limited to the things you can do,” Nelson said. “The good thing about A Brush of Hope is that there’s no guidelines and you can express yourself however you want to.”

This expression through art transcends into their candid conversations. Nelson said the group’s location is convenient for school-oriented conversations.

“The fact that it is in school is great because you can be in the middle of a problem that’s stemming from school,” Nelson said. “Mason’s just so big, so it’s nice to have a group of people who are all there for each other.”

Sophomore Kristin Rojek said friendships easily form between the girls after sharing their personal issues while participating in the forms of art that week.

“The art demonstrates what we’re feeling and our personalities in different ways,” Rojek said. “It’s a good break from everything and a place where I can be myself without hiding anything.”

A Brush of Hope founder and advisor Aimee Lowrence developed the group from her interest in character building through art.

“I really feel that young girls who are struggling can learn a lot of life skills and coping mechanisms just through the language of art,” Lowrence said. “When I was in school, it really would’ve made a difference for me to have had that kind of support.”

Lowrence said there is an ongoing trust between herself and the girls, which relies heavily on the all-female dynamic within the group.

“The reason that the program is for girls is because I think that girls are more drawn to art, and it seems to appeal to their style of learning and the way they communicate with each other,” Lowrence said. “They are able to be in a setting where they can be themselves.”

After they’ve attended the meetings, Lowrence said there is an increase in grades, attendance, and overall academic interest.

“As the year goes through and as they get more comfortable with each other, their choices become better,” Lowrence said. “They know they’re going to come to the group and share things about themselves. They have that sense of community that makes them want to do better.”

Sophomore Erika Smith has attended the group since middle school and said its emotional and artistic nature forms diverse connections between the girls.

“We all have very different mindsets, and we’re all very creative and empathetic,” Smith said. “We use art as our outlet and draw how we feel.”

Smith said her experiences in A Brush of Hope have encouraged her to understand others on different viewpoints.

“‘It’s a reminder that people are three-dimensional,” Smith said. “When we get together in this group, I really get to see these people for who they are.”