Bloom into Wellness | FALL + WINTER 2022/2023

October 22 + January 28, 1pm–3pm
Open to: BIPOC Queen's students and community members
Free + in-person program + art packages provided

Beyond Words was created by BIPOC for BIPOC. Beyond Words aims to foster a safe and creative space centred in art healing for Queen’s University students and members of the Katarokwi-Kingston community who identify as Black, Indigenous, and people of colour. We will be using art as a tool for expression and discussion in order to help facilitate healing within our mind, body, and spirit. Art as healing is a growing movement that has a lot to offer to individuals working through emotions that can be difficult to put into words.

Image: Beyond Words art materials

Artful Mind: Creating Collages to Express Mental Health
October 22, 2022, 1pm–3pm

In this session, the Union Gallery is partnering up with Queer Collage Collectives and invites participants to reflect individually and collectively to create art collages that relate to their experience with mental health, their breakthroughs and struggles with mental health, and reflect on practices that have impacted them. Please note that participants do not have to be diagnosed to be part of the session; this is a time to come together and share our various experiences.

Creating Community: A Discussion on Sustaining Relationships
January 28, 2023, 1pm–3pm

In this session, the Union Gallery is partnering up with Queen’s BIPOC Talk. Participants will have the opportunity to discuss the importance of sustaining relationships, develop strategies to build more sustainable interpersonal relationships, and reflect on their experiences.

What to Expect

Art therapy is the use of the creative process partnered with psychotherapy which offers a chance for self-exploration and understanding. Art allows us to explore things we may not have words to explain. While art therapy can be a deep and intense form of counselling, this group will focus on a lighter form of art therapy—“art as healing.” We will be using art as a tool for expression and discussion in order to help facilitate healing within our mind, body and spirit. In this series, Melanie will use innovative methods of art therapy and mindfulness to guide students on how to express themselves through art.

The 2022-2023 Beyond Words series is led by registered art therapist Melanie Gray and coordinated by Tiffany Harianto, Program Intern, and Yashfeen Afzaal, Program Assistant. Beyond Words is in partnership with Queen’s Collage Collectives.

Please feel free to refer to our Wellness Package during Beyond Words, or anytime on your art healing and wellness journey. From therapists to wellness organizations, this wellness package provides resources and safe spaces for your wellbeing. Recommended therapists are listed based on direct or indirect relationships between UG staff.

Queer Collage Collective's

Queer Collage Collective's events are for healing, expression and the strengthening of mental health through creating art. They aim to provide an accountable space to facilitate anti-oppressive conversation.

Queen's BIPOC Talk

BIPOC Talk is a confidential, non-judgemental peer support service and safe space for BIPOC students. They provide holistically safe healing spaces for BIPOC students to work through their experiences while being supported by peers, as well as creating opportunities for BIPOC students to connect with one another and build community.


Melanie graduated from Queen’s University in 2016 with a BAH in Art History and Indigenous Studies. She went on to complete her graduate program at the Toronto Art Therapy Institute where she graduated in 2018. Her thesis was titled The Ohén:ton Karihwatéhkwen Project: Introducing Art Therapy to Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory using the Haudenosaunee Thanksgiving Address. As an Indigenous Art Therapist, Melanie continues to be grounded in her Haudenosaunee culture and uses this understanding in her art healing practice.


Yashfeen is a second-year Bachelor of Arts Honours student at Queen’s University with plans to major in Art History. She was born and raised in Markham, Ontario and has a deep fascination with art history, especially regarding the relationship between fashion and art and how the two interact with one another. She is interested in exploring the cultural and social changes that have occurred in fashion and how that has influenced us in modern-day society.

Tiffany Harianto, PROGRAM Intern

Tiffany Harianto is a first-year Master of Public Health student at Queen’s University. She grew up in Mississauga, Ontario and graduated from the Bachelor of Health Sciences (Honours) program at McMaster University with a minor in Psychology. During her undergraduate degree, she assisted in developing a community course on the potential of music care to improve mental health. She is also a managing editor of Sanctuary, a community anthology based in Hamilton. Tiffany is passionate about the arts and is fascinated by the connections between art, culture, and health and wellness.