Senior Creates Safe Space for Art, Writing, and Studying

By Emily Ramser

   On Mondays and Thursdays from 9 p.m. to 10 p.m. the student meeting rooms are filled with students drawing, writing, and studying as a part of senior Julie Parker’s “Art Study Hours.”

   Parker created Art Study Hours as a part of her Not-for-Profit class this fall. She was tasked with creating a project that dealt with something she was passionate about, which, for her, ended up being depression.

 “Many of my friends at Salem, including myself, have struggled with depression on campus, and I felt like life would have been easier if I had the opportunity to write, draw, and make friends while I studied,” said Parker. “I then came up with the idea of “Art Study Hours” where students can come in and release their creativity or they can just study in a positive environment.”

   Parker found inspiration for this idea from her interactions and relationship with her mother.

  “When my mom was going through cancer treatments this past summer I bought her coloring books and those huge velvet posters you color in and we did them together.  She didn’t like coloring alone; but when I colored with her, she smiled more and she focused less on the pain,” said Parker.

   Though the project was originally meant to help relieve stress and help with depression, Parker has noticed that it has been helping people to make friends as well.

   “My roommate brings their littles and their littles bring a few friends along with them, so I meet someone new every week,” said Parker. Currently, anywhere from 10 to 15 people show up at each meeting; however, Parker hopes that more will begin showing up as the project gains publicity.

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