The Power of Artmaking Towards Transformation: Macro and Micro Healing Ourselves and Community
Melissa Leaym-Fernandez will share some thoughts regarding giving ourselves permission to be creative and art making on both micro and macro levels to survive/thrive after trauma, COVID, or just to get centered as people.
“I really just want to be upbeat, and let people know it ok to love themselves and care, truly care for self and that art making forms can help.”
Working as a painter, educator, parent, wife, and researcher in marginalized communities around the globe before coming to Penn State, Leaym-Fernandez has always been interested in artmaking as a method to share the counterstories of our lives while overcoming adverse childhood experiences, ACEs, or trauma.
Her professional art works make connections between the roles of woman specifically single parenthood, wife, motherhood, and daughterhood while entangling connections to the lived experiences of elephants in the wild. Connections often including roles of the matriarch and the aunties that nurture, protect, lead, and raise offspring within various families and herds. Her work is in personal and corporate collections, and she has shown in museum, corporate, and gallery spaces. You can see her work here.
Currently, Leaym-Fernandez is in the doctoral program of Art Education with a certified minor in Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies at Penn State University and will complete her degree, Summer of 2022. Her research focuses on the creative processes of women of color artists who have adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and how creativity has helped manage and/or overcome lifelong outcomes of ACEs. Additionally, she researches gender representations within Korean, Chinese, Thailand, Taiwanese, and South Asian television and music media markets.
She holds a master’s degree in art education and another in arts administration and a bachelor’s degree in fine arts with a focus in painting and another in art education with her teaching certification. She also holds a certificate in Deaf Studies. She has taught in rural, urban, public, and private settings.