KANSAS CITY, KAN. ---- As she begins her new role as ArtMakers’ Place coordinator and art therapist, Tamara Schardt, MS, is looking forward to building on the program, branching out further into the arts community, and educating the public about benefits of art therapy.
ArtMakers’ Place is the studio and program of art therapy and art groups offered by Wyandot Center, Wyandotte County’s designated community mental health center serving adults.
Wyandot Center’s holistic approach to consumer care and services attracted Schardt to the position. She also likes the open studio space where art therapy and art psychosocial groups take place.
“My main focus is connecting with other people,” Schardt says. “This is one of the main reasons I’m here. I think that Wyandot Center has a passion for making these connections.”
Originally from Wayne, Neb., Schardt earned her bachelor of fine arts degree from Fort Hays State University, Hays, Kan., where she minored in psychology.
She worked in Fort Collins, Colo., for two years teaching art to toddlers in a learning center.
Schardt returned to Kansas and obtained her master’s in art therapy from Emporia State University. She completed this program in May 2013. Her master’s project encompassed self-care for hospital staff, demonstrating how art therapy could benefit them as well as patients.
With the help of Emporia State professors and Lawrence Memorial Hospital staff, Schardt started an art therapy program for the inpatient Acute Rehabilitation/Transitional Care Unit and outpatient Oncology Unit at the Lawrence, Kan., hospital.
During graduate school, she also had the opportunity to travel with a team to Port-au-Prince, Haiti, to educate nursing staff about how to recognize trauma in patients, and to provide art therapy to youth at King's Garden, a boarding school and orphanage.
She says to watch for news about a client art exhibit that’s in the preliminary planning stages and other ArtMakers’ Place projects to promote the healing power of art.