With finals just a few weeks out for some schools, stress levels can run high. The Isabella Stewart Gardner (ISG) Museum knows that, so they hosted the “Colleges of Fenway De-Stress Day” on Friday, complete with musical performances, chair massages, rune-readings, gallery games, and therapy dogs.
The event was mostly populated by students from colleges near the museum, including Emmanuel College, Simmons University, and the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Science (MCPHS).
The program is meant to be an opportunity for ISG to be used as a resource for the students of Boston and especially the Fenway area, given the concentration of colleges in the area, said Philana Brown, the public programs assistant at ISG and manager of the event.
She hopes that the museum, with its calming atmosphere and sanctuary-like courtyard, can serve as a place where students feel that they can easily unwind and de-stress, she said. Whether they were preparing for midterms or finals, writing a research paper, or gearing up graduation, students were invited to participate in different activities so they could relax, she said.
Allyson McGuire, one of the volunteers at the event, ran a gallery game in which cards prompting discussion points about the artwork were given out to participants.
“These little prompts will hopefully help visitors engage with the art more,” she said.
One of the cards read: “Do you think any of the art is keeping a secret? Discuss!”
“It seems like a success so far,” McGuire said. “I see a lot of people here today.”
In an art-making activity, students reworked miniature versions of actual art from the museum by adding more colors and abstraction and stitched pixels from the images with embroidery.
“They seem like they’re really enjoying it. They’re talking while they’re working on this art project, and a couple of students have left some really impressive images embroidered all together,” said Annie Croquette, who was overseeing the activity. “You can tell it’s a very calm atmosphere, despite many people being here.”
One of the most popular attractions at the event was the therapy dog visits. Six local therapy dogs were brought in over the course of an hour, and garnered long lines throughout the duration of their stay.
Jess Banafado, an English major on education track at Simmons University, said that she liked the liked the opportunity to come to the event to spend time with the dogs, which she deemed as a comforting experience.
To provide calming background music, a band called 40 Million Feet, a reference to the distance from Boston to Nepal, performed at the event, featuring a sarangi, a traditional Nepalese instrument, and the acoustic guitar.
Overall, ISG created the perfect atmosphere for students to destress, and for an hour or two, forget about homework and just have fun.
“I’m really appreciative that I’m utilizing this very relaxing environment that they have here at the museum to help out the students around here,” said Cole Carson, an industrial design major at the Wentworth Institute of Technology.
Featured Image Courtesy of Sean Dungan / Wikipedia Commons