Rowan Art Gallery & Wellness Center team up to combat student stress with Mini Zen Gardens

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"This event has been adapted into various Rowan organizations because of their possibility for students to become more relaxed, and anybody that attended the event held at the Rowan Art Gallery was able to keep them." - Staff Writer / Maryela Gallardo.

The Rowan Art Gallery & Museum collaborated with the Wellness Center to create mini zen gardens for students to keep. This event was a part of the “Art for Wellness Special” where these two facilities work together to combine the topics of art and well-being. This small event could not have been possible without the actions of Tara Porch, an intern at the Rowan Art Gallery, who created this experience as a part of her master’s program. 

“I have to do a final project to graduate. So for my final project, I’m helping to create and host events for the art gallery as a program coordinator, and one of the ideas that I had was to reach out to Susy when I saw that she did art for wellness,” said Porch. “I was like, ‘Oh, well, that would be a great collaboration with the art gallery because then we’re bringing the wellness from the wellness center to the art gallery for the art.’” 

The Wellness Center is known for hosting these wellness events every Thursday, and collaborating with the Rowan Art Gallery has allowed for them to branch out to students who regularly attend the building for classes. 

The only downside that happened with this event is that, unless one has a class in the 301 High Street building, because it is so far away from the main campus, it is hard to get people to come by. This issue is something that Porch is trying to work on, especially as the program coordinator for the gallery, she hopes to put her best efforts into promotion. 

“So we are trying to promote ourselves a little better and more socially throughout the campus and publicly so that people are aware that we’re here. Admission is free. We’re open six days a week,” said Porch. 

Suzie Tse, an intern at the Wellness Center, was also in attendance at this event. She was contacted by Porch to bring this regular event from the center to the gallery. Her hope was for students to find a place to wind down. 

“I know students are stressed and we don’t get to get out as much, we’re used to sticking ourselves into either our dorms or our rooms,” said Tse. “So having that kind of natural space can help be relaxing, soothing, and whatnot.” 

She also worked with the gallery intern to promote the current exhibition called “Bonding,” by Jack Larimore. The exhibition is about the artist using different mediums from nature to create these unique sculptures, about how Zen Gardens use these natural mediums to create small dry gardens. 

Zen Gardens have become a well-known activity that is intended for relaxation, meditation, and contemplation. This event has been adapted into various Rowan organizations because of their possibility for students to become more relaxed, and anybody that attended the event held at the Rowan Art Gallery was able to keep them. Porch will continue to find different ways to engage the Rowan community to visit the gallery more often in pursuit of bringing awareness to its location first.

For comments/questions about this story DM us on Instagram @thewhitatrowan or email the.whit.arts@gmail.com.

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