Child’s play

Feb 262008
Authors: Edie Adams

CSU students gathered in the Lory Student Center Tuesday for a return to preadolescence: the art of finger-painting. The event, designed specifically to help people regress and relax, attracted students who said they were eager to get messy.

It was one of many events taking place this week for “Celebrate EveryBODY,” a program to increase awareness about eating disorders.

Bree Emery, an intern in the Office of Outreach and Prevention, started the meeting by talking about why finger painting was chosen as the central activity.

“Obviously, it’s fun,” Emery said. “Art has less boundaries than words and allows people to do what they really want.”

Because finger painting is something that people do when they are young, the activity would hopefully guide students into a regressed state and make them remember what it was like to be a carefree child, unconcerned about their image, Emery said.

The discussion centered on women and the effects of society as they progress from preadolescence into young adulthood.

“Preadolescence can be a magical time for girls,” Emery said.

When girls are seven to 10 years old, Emery said, they are curious and resilient. But this changes drastically as they grow up to feel self-critical and depressed.

“Women try to meet expectations,” Emery said, referring to Ophelia from the Shakespearian play Hamlet, who changes from a carefree girl to a woman who only lives to please Hamlet and her father. “They lose their inner navigation system.”

Once the brief lecture was over, Emery switched the focus to finger-painting.

She asked the students to close their eyes and take deep breaths, asking them to first imagine what they felt like when they were young.

Students were then asked to imagine the world from an extraterrestrial point of view, observing customs and seeing what the “perfect image” seemed to be for men and women. Students were then asked to focus on themselves, how they felt and what they valued. Then the finger paints were distributed.

Students got to pick from a variety of colors and then set to work. Some painted childlike drawings of houses, trees and people, while others drew abstractly.

Stephanie Domenico, a freshman open option major, drew several pictures full of colorful fingerprints, streaks, and blobs of paint, and “ran out of fingers” about halfway through the session.

“It was nice to just sit down,” Domenico said.

Domenico said painting with her fingers helped her reduce stress. The last time she had done a finger painting, she was nine years old.

Once students had painted themselves out, they were given the option to take their paintings home or donate them to the counseling center to be hung up. Many left their paintings behind but left with smiles on their faces.

Staff writer Edie Adams can be reached at

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