New Partnership Aims to Improve Well-being Through Hands-on Arts Workshops

The Office of Learning Environment and Well-Being (LE WELL) has partnered with Duke Arts Create to offer free workshops twice a month from January through April on the sixth floor of the Trent Semans Center for Health Education.  

Attendees can learn new creative skills and de-stress at a variety of arts workshops, from needle felting to weaving to stress-free singing. The new series of workshops was created as part of LE WELL's new initiative to offer Wednesday Wellness Workshops. 

The Duke Arts workshops are open to everyone in Duke University School of Medicine. Jane Gagliardi, MD, MHS, associate dean for learning environment and well-being, said she and Melanie Bonner, PhD, assistant dean of student services, partnered with Anna Wallace, student engagement coordinator with Duke Arts, to create the series. They aim to provide more wellness opportunities in a convenient location for the School of Medicine community, particularly students.  

Typically, Duke Arts Create workshops have been held on other parts of campus, such as the Rubenstein Arts Center. Gagliardi said bringing the workshops to the Trent Semans Center will make them more accessible.  

She added that the workshops also will help build community and give people a chance to exercise their creativity outside of their job or academic program. “Some people really enjoy creating, and perhaps they haven't had the chance since they became a student,” Gagliardi said. “This may be a less threatening way to get back in touch with their creative side.” 

Organizers hope there is something of interest to everyone looking to improve their mental health or take a pause from everyday stressors. “There is no one-size-fits-all strategy for individual well-being,” Gagliardi said. “I can't assume something that makes me feel well will make you feel well. Part of our goal is to offer a variety of options.”  

The next workshop in the Trent Semans Building, Needle Felting, will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. on January 31. Additional dates are as follows:  

  • February 14 – Weaving 
  • February 28 – Blackout Poetry 
  • March 6 - Zines 
  • March 20 - Mandala 
  • April 3 – Stress-Free Singing 
  • April 17 – Mindful Mending 

Members of the Duke community are welcome to register for Duke Arts Create workshops at any of the locations where they are offered. To learn more or register, visit Duke Arts Create online.