Date of Award

Spring 5-2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)



First Advisor

Nathan Heuer, M.F.A.

Second Advisor

B.A. Harrington, M.F.A.

Third Advisor

Sharon Massey, M.F.A.

Fourth Advisor

Susan Palmisano, M.F.A.


Mental illness is prevalent in American society, affecting about 1 in 5 individuals (“Learn About Mental Health”). Addressing trauma is one way of preventing mental illness. The Adverse Childhood Experiences Study by Dr. Vincent Felitti of the Kaiser Permanente Foundation and Dr. Robert Anda of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, looked at the connection between negative childhood experiences, such as substance abuse in the home, to the most common causes of death manifested in adulthood. Mental health affects physical health, and one of the ways to address the effect of lifetime traumas is to develop coping skills such as mindfulness and engaging with nature. Mindfulness has been shown to reduce anxiety, depression, stress, chronic pain, and blood pressure (Brown, et al 211-237). Engaging with nature has been shown to reduce anxiety, depression, stress, and blood pressure as well (Tyrväinen et al. 1).

My exhibition will consist of an installation that acts as a practice in mindfulness meditation for myself and as an introduction to the basic tenets of mindfulness for the viewer. Interconnectivity, being in the moment, and accepting circumstances without judgment are all concepts that are introduced to the viewer through paintings, drawings, screen prints, and zines (self-published magazines).