Karlie Vida, a history and art history double major at IUPUI, was a senior in 2013, but won’t graduate until the spring of 2014. "I’ll be running a victory lap," she says with a laugh, "on my way to graduate school in art therapy." Her decision to be a double major stems from her two favorite subjects in high school: history and art.
Originally from Clare, Michigan, Vida wasn’t initially interested in coming to Indiana for college. But when a friend of her father, a graduate of the Herron School of Art and Design, recommended IUPUI, she decided to check it out. "We came for a campus visit and I really liked it," she says.
Once here, and enrolled in her two programs, a trip to India set Vida’s future in place. Her trip lasted seven weeks, during which she worked in an orphanage for children who grew up on the streets.
"One of the boys that I taught English to absolutely loved colors and drawing, but the only time they did arts-related things was Fridays when they did a crafts project, but that was highly controlled to look nice and most was done by the volunteers. Many of the children had a lot of anger issues and behavioral problems from their time on the streets."
Vida realized then what an art therapy program could do for children in that situation.
"It is a safe, non-destructive way for the children to create what they want to and have a little bit of control over what they want to do. Art, and art therapy, can greatly change how people look at their own lives, understand themselves, and others." Vida says.
She says, "I think that overall going to India was one of the best things I could have done."
Vida is excited for her last year of college and the graduate work that lies ahead. She feels confident that art therapy is her niche. She would love to return to India someday for a more extended period. Who knows? Maybe she will start that art therapy program that she knows is so desperately needed.
—By Anna Ruble, Liberal Arts News Buraeu