Hola! My name is Christina and I am an Art & Dance/Movement Therapist from Chicago, but relocated to South Florida. I am super excited and honored to be a featured writer on Everything’s Magnificent blog page!
My full name is Christina E. Fontenelle and I attained a Master of Arts in Art Therapy from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. You’re probably wondering what’s Art & Dance/ Movement Therapy?” I’ll dedicate a whole blog to that soon to explain what that is and how I use it in the mental health field, but in the meantime, let me tell you a bit about myself!
My Creative Journey
I am an Artist.
Growing up I always stood out and I didn’t understand why. My thought process was completely different from everyone else’s. It wasn’t until I got to college (University of Illinois at Springfield) that I figured out that I was different because I was an artist. I started off as a Bio-Chemistry major with the intentions of becoming a Pediatrician. I was capable of this profession, but I wasn’t fully satisfied in that major. So, I said to myself, “I’m going to take this 2D art class. If I pass with an A, then I’ll become an artist. If I fail, then I’ll stay a Bio-Chemistry major.” First assignment…FAILED and was humiliated in front of the whole class, but I didn’t give up! I had to work twice as hard as everyone else because I didn’t have the technical skills that everyone in my class had already learned and mastered at a college level. I pushed, and pushed, AND PUSHED myself until I passed…with an A!
I transferred to Illinois State University for their amazing School of Art program. I was accepted to the college based on my credentials and I had to apply for their specific art program in my second semester. I remembered making an appointment with my Art Advisor to review the application process with a huge trash bag. I sat down and began to cry. She asked me what was wrong and I told her that a faculty member told me I wouldn’t get in the first try and it didn’t help that I had never made a portfolio of my work before. She asked what was in the trash bag and I told her my artworks. She grabbed my bag of art and took out one by one and laid them out on her office floor. She assisted me with every little detail to ensure that my portfolio was professional and well put together. Little did I know my Art Advisor was also the Director of the School of Art Program.
Fear of Failure
I will not give up!
My parents were very disappointed to hear about all of these changes as they were excited about me becoming a doctor. They were worried about me not finding a job as an Art Teacher because the Art programs in Chicago were going through budget cuts. I panicked!! I picked up business thinking I could work at a museum, but I was unhappy. I picked up several other minors that led me to dead ends. I finally went to my TRiO (Student Support Services) Advisor, Angell Davis, and desperate yet again seeking guidance from someone. She asked me, “What do you like?” I replied, “I love Art, I am passionate about helping people, and I really love psychology/the human brain!” SO she googled ‘Art and Psychology’ and behold Art Therapy at the School of the Art Institute appeared which people yet again doubted that I would be able to get accepted into. My Faith has definitely been tested and mocked in this process, but I always relied on God to guide my footsteps.
What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open
I believe God gave me many talents and abilities as outlets to understand and experience life. This is why I use Art in my own life as a way of expression and release when I can’t find the right words to capture my emotions. I either dance, write poetry, perform spoken word, or use drama/acting as a creative outlet. Everything I wear, say, and do is Art and I want to share my experience with you all in hopes of empowering and encouraging you step out in faith and move boldly into your passions and dreams as I have!
“Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4