This summer, the In a New Light program is wading into some completely new territory. For the first time, Northwest Passage is playing host to four expressive arts interns from across the Midwest who are looking to be part of Northwest Passage’s inspiring project to promote hope and healing through nature photography. I am one of those interns. Over the course of the summer, we will be using the In a New Light blog to chronicle our experiences here at Northwest Passage. As young people completely new to the therapeutic arts field, we are uniquely positioned to share what we learn from this one-of-a-kind program, its participants, and the people who make it happen. Visit the In a New Light blog often to keep up to date on the In a New Light project and to see photos and writings from the kids themselves. Keep reading to learn a bit about each of the interns that will be writing this summer.
“Hi, I’m Caroline! I am from Chicago, and I’ve spent the last four years in Northfield, Minnesota as a student at St. Olaf College. I majored in History and Studio Art, studied Russian, traveled to Italy and St. Petersburg, pursued my passion for photography, and discovered new interests in bookmaking, design, and teaching.
My mission in life is to create art and explore new places, to share my passion for art with others through teaching and facilitating creative communities, to generate new ideas and pursue new possibilities, and to ultimately have a positive impact on people’s lives and on society. This summer, I hope to learn ways to advocate for mental health awareness and ways to end the societal stigma against mental health issues. I hope to develop my skills as a teacher and mentor, and I hope to gain experience that will enable me to implement expressive arts therapy in a variety of communities.”
“Hello! I’m Marit Aaseng, an aspiring psychologist and artist originally from Alexandria, Minnesota. In May, I graduated from St. Olaf College where I studied Psychology and Studio Art, dabbled in music, volunteered in social justice student organizations, and worked in Residence Life. Thanks to my interests in art, culture, and the humanities, I have been given several opportunities to travel the world. Some of my most formative experiences occurred during a summer studying peace and justice in Norway, and a semester immersed in Renaissance Art in Italy.
The mission of Northwest Passage, and especially the In a New Light program, flows seamlessly with my own personal mission to work on behalf of underprivileged children in our society and their families. Central to this purpose is a belief in the positive potential within each and every individual, regardless of his or her circumstances. There are many ways to reveal this potential, including education, therapy, and mentoring. Above all, art has the power to transform people’s perceptions of themselves and the world around them. Art has the ability to communicate emotions that words cannot do justice. When this expressive tool is given to adolescents with mental health issues, the results are often stunning. Throughout the summer I hope to use photography as a medium to connect with the kids of Northwest Passage, and connect them to the beauty of this world we live in. Ultimately, I hope that this will lead to an end to stigma and a new age of acceptance of mental illness.”
“Hi! My name is Laura. I recently completed my sophomore year at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa where I am working to complete an Environmental Studies major. My interest in the connection between environmental sustainability and mental health is what ultimately brought me to Northwest Passage. To me, environmental problems stem from deeply ingrained sociological and psychological suffering and intense longing for community support, love, and creative expression. Northwest Passage promotes healing in all three of these areas—especially through its expressive arts programming. I am excited to learn about the programming and to interact with and learn from those involved in the programs—both the kids and their mentors. I also have a passion for writing, and I hope this summer to better my skills through tutoring, blogging, grant writing, and trying my hand at a query letter or two. My personal mission is to be compassionate and to spread compassion. Only through compassion can we create a better world.”
“My name is Corey Gipperich and I’m a Film and Video intern at Northwest Passage. I’m originally from Lake Orion, Michigan and attended college at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan (on the coast of Lake Michigan near Grand Rapids). I knew I had to move somewhere immediately after graduating to officially kick off the rest of my life, and I didn’t care where it was. I saw this opportunity to help people at Northwest Passage as a challenge, but with the possibility of a huge reward. Now being over a month in, I’m already feeling the benefits. Seeing young kids here that have been through so much has taught me that I cannot afford to let my life go to waste. They inspire me to succeed each and every day and if I weren’t trying to do it for myself, then I’d be doing it for them. I hope this internship helps form my overall perspective of the world—which is kind of my motto. I believe we’re the sum of our opinions of the world and that any problem can be solved if you just look at it in a new light. I also hope to hone my skills in videography, photography, and filmmaking, and to make friends that will last a lifetime.
I am a storyteller through and through. Storytelling is something that has always mystified me, and I plan to dedicate my life to sharing tales that would otherwise go unheard. It’s the oldest art form, is certainly wired into us as a species, and it resonates within me quite strongly. My only goal in this life is to expose others to ideas and sentiments they’ve never contemplated before. I want to challenge people’s views and beliefs in efforts to sway their opinions to be more progressive in nature. If I can get through life and have others speak of how moved, or inspired, or awestruck they were because of the stories I told, then I will certainly be a happy man.”