In 2021, Main Street Connect partnered with BlackRock Center for the Arts to offer two eight-session workshops centered around using art as a tool for wellness.
In July and August, BlackRock was at Main Street leading the “Self-Centered” workshop, which focused on using art tools and practices to give insight into internal states of being. Participants had the chance to create mandalas, form watercolor shapes with drawn illustrations and learn how to use drawing as a way to capture changes in breathing and state of mind.
During the “Fish Out of Water” series in November and December, Main Street members explored the feeling of being a fish out of water and asked the question, “How can art help us process and express our feelings in times of discomfort?” Participants worked together to discover new strategies to lift themselves up and to embrace their unique differences. Projects included sketching and illustration, mono printing, carved print making and mixed media.
Anjali Wells received her bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts and Master of Art Education from the University of Maryland, College Park. Anjali also has a post-graduate certificate in Equity and Excellence in Education from McDaniel College. She has been an art educator for Montgomery County Public Schools since 2013. In 2013, she developed an arts-based mindfulness program for at-risk elementary students. Anjali was the site coordinator and lead teaching artist for Explore, Create, Connect at Briggs Chaney Middle School, a program made possible by a Trawick Foundation Grant that collaborated with Arts on the Block, Impact Silver Spring and Clancyworks Dance company to provide struggling students with arts-based community engagement. The program proved to improve participants’ self-esteem, sense of belonging in the school community and, ultimately, their attendance and GPA. In 2019, Anjali worked as a contributor to the Smithsonian Freer Sackler Museum’s Freeman project writing curriculum resources for the gallery’s Chinese art collection. Additionally, she provides professional development annually through the Maryland Art Education Association. Anjali currently serves on the MCPS Fine Arts curriculum team.