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Fingerpainting alleviates dead-week stress


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By Kathryn Moody




Seats were filled at every table. Paintings in bright, primary colors covered the tables, a mosaic of stick people, finger swirls and geometric shapes.

Senior Sarah McMahon sought to rescue students drowning in dead-week worry by giving them a chance to finger paint.

The Hutton Honors College put on the “Paint out your Stress!” event Wednesday afternoon, allowing students a chance to de-stress during their studies for finals. Passionate about art, McMahon created the event so students could relax and indulge their inner artist.

“I thought it was a really good program that we could do to reach everyone, regardless of level,” McMahon said. “You don’t have to be a master painter.”

A senior studying neuroscience and ethnographic photography through the individualized major program, McMahon proposed the idea to the extracurricular programming committee of the Hutton Honors College. This is the event’s third
semester.

“We’re encouraged to put on ideas we are passionate about,” McMahon said.
They’ve had a fairly high turnout all three semesters, she said.

Toward the back of the room, the percussionist band Square Peg Round Hole played glass bottles, desk bells, whisks and vibes as well as miniature pianos. All four musicians are percussionists enrolled in the Jacobs School of Music, McMahon said. Wednesday marked the second time the group has played for the event.

“We chose them because they are all instrumental and super chill,” she said. “Experiencing live music is more special than any recording.”

Finger painting is very hands-on, McMahon said, which is why the activity is so stress-relieving.

“Finger painting is typically something done as a child, so it puts you back in that childlike mentality,” she said.

McMahon likes to bike, make lists and listen to music to reduce her stress. Other students at the event had a variety of tactics to keep their heads level as well.

“I play a lot of video games,” Jill Moore, a freshman telecommunications major, said. “I photoshop a lot. It helps me problem solve because they are problems unrelated to what I’m doing. I feel like I accomplished something even though I didn’t.”

Asra Asrar, a sophomore neuroscience major, found her new stress relief tactic over winter break.

“Over Christmas break, I played the ukulele,” she said. “So now, whenever I have lots of tests coming up, I’ll play.”

“Not that I really know how to play,” she said, smiling.

Above all, the event reflects McMahon’s own interests and her desire to get others involved.

“It’s something I can share with everybody,” McMahon said.

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