The Art-Making Process and Connection to Feelings 

Shandra Martinez

| 3 min read

Ceramic workshop
Even if you don’t feel like you are artistically inclined, you should still make time for art-making. That’s because being creative is important to our health by helping us connect to ourselves and the world. The goal of arts-based learning is to create immersive learning experiences to help people gain new insights and perspectives about business challenges. Fortunately, there are activities that people — solo or in a group — that qualify as an art-making process. Below are some examples of art-based learning activities using communication skills, creative problem-solving, collaboration and team bonding. For team-based activities, consider these options:

Back-to-Back Drawing

What it is: This exercise builds communication skills by honing our listening skills as we tap into our creative side. What you'll need: Paper, pens/markers, printouts of simple line drawings or basic shapes. Instructions: Split your group into pairs and have each pair sit back-to-back. One person gets a picture of a shape or simple image, and the other gets a piece of paper and pen/marker. The person holding the picture gives verbal instructions to their partner on how to draw the shape or image they've been given without telling them what the shape or image is. After a set amount of time, have each set of partners compare their images and see which team drew the most accurate replica.

Build a Marshmallow Spaghetti Tower

What it is: This exercise encourages creative problem-solving and collaboration by working together on a project that takes you back to your childhood school projects. What you'll need: 20 sticks of uncooked spaghetti, 1 roll of masking tape, 1 yard of string, and 1 marshmallow for every team. Instructions: Use these supplies to build the tallest tower that has the marshmallow at the top. The structure has to stand on its own for five seconds.

Group Painting Mural

What it is: This exercise fosters team building by tapping into your creativity as part of a group effort. What you'll need: Pre-drawn canvases, paints and brushes, a drop cloth or tarp. Instructions: Give each member of your team a canvas and brush and let everyone create a colorful masterpiece on their canvas. They can be put together and displayed in your office as a mural. If you don’t have a group, here are some ideas for individual activities:
  • Paint/Draw: Draw or paint your emotions. Focus entirely on painting what you’re feeling.
  • Create a sculpture of your feelings: Sculpt a physical manifestation of what you’re feeling.
  • Put together a journal: Make an art journal to visually express your emotions with drawings, collages and doodles.
  • Paint a mountain and a valley: The mountain can represent a time where you were happy. The valley represents when you were sad. You can also add elements that reflect specific events as well.
  • Create an emotion wheel: Using color, identify your emotions. This activity will have you thinking critically about your emotions, allowing you to become more self-aware and self-compassionate.
Find more ideas from these websites:,, and Learn more about art-based learning activities in this Blue Cross® Virtual Well-Being webinar. You can also sign up for future employer-focused and general interest webinars here, where you’ll find past sessions and resources. Related:
 Photo credit: Getty Images
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