Temple Times Online Edition
    SEPTEMBER 30, 2004
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Tuttleman Counseling Center gets makeover

Ahead of Tyler’s move to Main Campus, young artists are displaying their work at a new exhibit in Sullivan Hall

Dionn Williams, outreach coordinator for the Tyler Christian Fellowship, hangs her painting “Perceiving Kara #1,” part of a series of her works titled “Perceiving Humans.” Williams’ painting is on display in the Tuttleman Counseling Center as part of an exhibit by Tyler students.

The Tyler School of Art isn’t scheduled to join the Main Campus community until 2007, but some Tyler students are already moving into Sullivan Hall and decorating.

Members of the student-based Tyler Christian Fellowship are putting the finishing touches on a new art exhibit showcasing student work, which will open Friday night at the Tuttleman Counseling Center.

The collaboration began several months back when, faced with a boring reception area anchored with a cluster of chairs grouped too tightly and surrounded by white walls devoid of personality, the counselors at the center decided they needed a change.

“Our waiting room had a fishbowl set of couches where all of the students would coalesce, and it was like they were being watched by everybody,” said Jeremy Frank, a licensed psychologist and certified addiction counselor who coordinates the University’s Campus Alcohol and Substance Awareness unit. “And it had these fluorescent lights, and it was drab and depressing and clinical.”

An aesthetics committee suggested adding a fish tank, reorganizing the chairs to resemble a coffee shop layout with several small clusters where students could sit by themselves or with a few friends, and introducing art into the space.

Frank, who frequently travels to the Tyler and Ambler campuses for student appointments, knew the wealth of art available around just about every corner at Tyler. So he called Deb Martin-Webster, the director of Tyler Student Services, who enthusiastically suggested asking a student group to curate the space.

The idea materialized as a biannual exhibit jointly hosted by a Tyler student organization and the Tuttleman Counseling Services staff.

The TCF — a group of art students who meet on a regular basis to discuss God and investigate the “fathomless concept of the Christian artist” — was chosen to launch the collaboration this semester.

“My group would be the first organization to decorate this space,” explained Dionn Williams, a senior Tyler student and former president of the Tyler Student Government who now serves as outreach coordinator for the TCF.

“Our initial reaction to this project was excitement,” she said. “We saw this as a wonderful opportunity to showcase our art and also help create a bridge between Tyler’s Elkins Park campus and Main Campus.”

“The opportunity to show work anywhere is something to be appreciated, whether it is through an organized display or simply shown to friends, because art is created to be received — but the wider audience [on Main Campus] makes this exhibit special,” added TCF member Billy Melone, who volunteered two of his pieces — an abstract drawing and a ceramic sculpture.

The TCF includes more than two dozen members, half of whom eagerly volunteered to show their work in the Counseling Center exhibition.

“It’s great to share our art with others in the Temple community,” said senior graphic and interactive design major Julia Davis, whose self-portrait in watercolor is part of the exhibition.

“I like the atmosphere of Main Campus. The student body is more diverse and the pulse of the campus is fast-paced. With more interaction, we have a better chance of getting to know each other, and maybe even seeing the world in a new way as a result,” Davis said.

The collaboration is certainly allowing Counseling Center staff and clients a new view. Frank said the reactions have been similar to what you see on the popular television reality show “Trading Spaces.”

“We were in a staff meeting when all of the Tyler students came down and hung their art. And when everyone came out of the meeting, we were amazed at the difference,” Frank recalled. “Students, too, have commented that it looks different and it is much more homey and welcoming.”

The exhibit is aptly titled “Welcome Tyler to Main I,” because, Frank and Williams said, the collaboration welcomes Tyler students to what will be their new home while showcasing the creativity and flavor the art students will add to the Main Campus environment.

From a counseling perspective, Frank also noted that the benefits of the new partnership extend beyond the merging of two campuses.

“Having student art on the Counseling Center walls sends a powerful message to students seeking professional help for personal issues,” Frank explained. “It shows that there are people here who care for students who are struggling with problems. It suggests that many have come before you, and it celebrates the space and therefore the process through which students seek help.

“In choosing to share their work here, Tyler students are lending their creativity and passion,” he added. “This parallels the process of counseling and psychotherapy, where clients strive to express themselves while sharing their emotion, color and individuality.”

And it seems there will be no shortage of students willing to share their work within the Counseling Center walls. The Tyler Student Government is already in line to curate the space for the spring.

“When Tyler completely moves to Main Campus, there will be a massive demand for installation space,” Williams said. “Art students are always looking for a place to show their work. I have even talked to other student leaders who are already getting started on the plans for their show slot at the Counseling Center.”

- By Gina Carson

Help available at Tuttleman Counseling Services
  Tuttleman Counseling Services offers students a wide range of assistance, including individual and group counseling, educational workshops and outreach events.

  All Temple undergraduate, graduate and professional school students are encouraged to visit the Counseling Center to discuss emotional, educational and vocational concerns or any other issues of importance to them. There are no fees for any assistance provided by Tuttleman Counseling Services, and all records are kept confidential. Counselors also can refer students to mental health resources on campus and in the city that are specific to their needs.

  The Tuttleman Counseling Center is in the lower level of Sullivan Hall. Hours are Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., and at Ambler and Tyler campuses by appointment. For more information or to schedule an appointment on Main Campus, call 204-7276. For Ambler appointments, call 215-238-1430. For Tyler appointments, call 215-782-2825.
  Students can also access services by coming to Tuttleman Counseling Services’ walk-in clinic Monday through Friday between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Counselors are available for walk-in emergencies during normal office hours as well. In addition, psychiatric emergency services are available to students 24 hours a day at Temple’s Crisis Response Center, located at Episcopal Hospital, 215-707-2577.