Design Students Paint in “Therapy Room”

Ahmad Almansouri, junior in architecture, and Elliejo Lafever, senior in interior design, clasp paint-covered hands during a yearly stress-relieving event that promotes creative expression. Students wore body suits and covered themselves in tempera paint.

Dalton Bergan

Between noon and 2:30 on Friday Feb 28, nearly 75 ISU students stopped by the “TherapyRoom” located in the College of Design. TherapyRoom was an event that allowed students to let off some steam in a fun and creative way. Participants were allowed access to a small room with tarps covering the walls, where they could use paint to channel stress.

Students in Design Studies 546 typically spend several weeks planning and promoting events similar to this every spring. This event was almost completely student-led. Everything from the brainstorming stage to the purchase of materials to the cleanup was done by the class.

“We all just sat down, wrote down ideas, and then collectively chose one idea and started developing it,” said student Ahmed AlMonsouri. Ahmed said that another idea was to do a petting zoo, but they couldn’t get the animals they wanted for it.

The event was planned by a committee of 12 students. After deciding what they wanted to have for materials, the group bought four gallons of paint, as well as an assortment of water guns and paintbrushes for participants to use.

The event was open to any students within the College of Design, and was free to all participants. “Anyone could come in as long as they were willing to get messy and put on a suit,” said senior Thomas Lutz.

Students who participated in the event were put in HAZMAT-like suits that covered all clothing before entering the room. Once inside, participants could use the paint in whatever ways they saw fit.

“People could kind of just do what they wanted in there,” said senior EllieJo Lafever. “There were some people that were actually making art, then others were just throwing it at each other and at the walls.”

While some used the room as a space to create, others found it more fun to cover themselves in as much paint as possible. Students were sliding and rolling in the paint on their own, or using the water guns and brushes to squirt or fling paint at one another.

“Lots of people, without even seeing other people, did paint angels,” said AlMonsouri. With music playing in the background, some students even danced. The group intentionally set no rules so that students could do whatever they felt like doing.

According to fliers, TherapyRoom was as a “social experiment to gauge levels of interaction and participation of students within the College of Design.” The experiment was meant to give students an outlet through which they could express themselves and relieve stress.

For students who took advantage of the opportunity, TherapyRoom seemed to serve its purpose quite well. The design class plans to hang the painted tarps in the College of Design so that everyone can see the work of students who participated.