Creative Art Therapy Students at WLU need your help


Image of a Tree of Life located on the donation website for the Creative Arts Therapy Program

During Topper Day of Giving, an annual online donation hosted by the WLU Foundation, the creative arts therapy program at West Liberty University is hosting a campaign of their own. April 6, 2022 (11:59 p.m.) is the last day to make a donation to the creative arts therapy programs scholarship fundraiser campaign: The Tree of Life Mural.

The Tree of Life Mural was created to promote “a fun and creative way” to raise funds for art therapy student scholarships according to Dr. Susan Ridley, WLU’s assistant professor of creative arts therapy with the College of Liberal and Creative Arts (CoCLA.)

There are several donation levels to add to The Tree: Add a star or leaf ($25), add a favorite insect ($50), add a favorite fish ($100), add a favorite flower ($250), add a favorite tree ($500), add a favorite bird ($1,000) or add a favorite animal ($1,500). Specific directions on picking your donation, selecting a special message and ensuring funds go towards creative arts therapy can be found by following this link.

The mural is located on the second floor of the Student Union near the art therapy classroom in the new lounge area created by CoCLA. “In many cultures, the Tree of Life symbolizes our connection to all the things that live on the earth, in the sea, and the air,” Ridley said. Saying the theme connects us to the physical world we live in and the spiritual world “we thrive for”, it also represents the need for knowledge, growth and renewal according to Ridley. Much like a family tree, the Tree of Life Mural represents the connections to the past and how they represent the future.

Ridley explains The Tree of Life has several directives in art therapy that helps gain a deeper understanding of the roots of where individuals come from. The trunk of the tree represents the skills and values, branches represent hopes, dreams, and wishes, the leaves represent the positive influences, the fruits are passed on legacies, seeds and flowers represent the legacies passed on to others.

Ridley donated artwork to the current micro-campaign going on within WLU’s Department of Media and Visual Arts called “Autumn Leaves.” Autumn Leaves is a mixed media piece using acrylic paint and handmade paper that pays homage to Ridley’s lover for the changing seasons and beautiful autumn colors. “The image represents a pathway to possibilities,” said Ridley. She shared that updating that student space would not only foster more possibilities for students but also create a space where students can socially connect, function and enhance educational experiences at WLU.

To make a donation to the department of media and visual arts or to bid in their art auction, please follow these links: Art Auction or Donate to Department of Media and Visual Arts.

For more information or questions, please email Ridley at [email protected].