Art and the Brain: A Wellness Conversation

Tuesday, 2 March, 2021 6:00 pm
Online (Zoom)

How do you define art? How does art engage my brain? How do I incorporate art into a personal wellness practice, regardless of my skill level? Among the coping mechanisms for prolonged exposure to stress (i.e. pandemic, social and political change, and income insecurity) is the restorative power of art. Research shows the process of both appreciating and making art promotes overall brain health and wellness and provides a space for stress reduction and self-reflection. In partnership with the McNay Art Museum, join us for a conversation with Dr. Richard Aste (Director and CEO, McNay Art Museum), Dr. Lindsay Bira (Clinical Health Psychologist), Gaby Gamez (Art Therapist, owner of Annie Creative Studio for Wellness) and moderator Meriam Good (Director, Mind Science) about how art moves, heals, delights, and ultimately transforms.

Art and the Brain: A Wellness Conversation

Richard Aste, PhD, McNay Art Museum Director and CEO

Appointed in 2016 as the McNay Art Museum’s third director and first-ever Hispanic director, Richard Aste’s dynamic vision for the first modern art Museum in Texas brings its mission of engaging a diverse community in the discovery and enjoyment of the visual arts to life. By focusing on a balance of artistic excellence and community impact, Rich has championed engaging exhibitions and impactful educational programming that reflect a deep commitment to inclusivity and belonging. As a first time CEO, Aste has quickly mastered the demands of leadership by building an engaged team, reimagining the museum experience, and cultivating an engaging atmosphere for visitors and employees.

Art and the Brain: A Wellness Conversation

Lindsay Bira, PhD, Clinical Health Psychologist

Lindsay Bira is a clinical health psychologist, TEDx speaker, and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at UT Health San Antonio.  She has clinical research specialty in behavioral medicine and PTSD/trauma. She speaks often on the topic of mental health and wellbeing, serves as a consultant on projects that seek to incorporate mental health, and runs a private practice, treating adults and teens for a range of issues.  She received her PhD in clinical health psychology from University of Miami and completed residency with Harvard Medical School and Boston University School of Medicine before completing an additional 2-year fellowship in trauma psychology. Dr. Bira has been featured by TEDx, Texas Public Radio, Women’s Health Magazine, Headspace, Science, Nature Biotech, and more for her work in PTSD, mindfulness, brain health and personal growth.  She is passionate about helping others learn about the brain to improve wellbeing and values platforms that help her with that mission.

Art and the Brain: A Wellness Conversation

Gabriela Gamez BA, MPS, ATR-BC; Art Therapist and Owner of Annie Creative Studio for Wellness

Gaby Gamez is a board certified art therapist with 10 years of experience using expressive modalities to assess and support cognitive, social, emotional and physical development. As a bilingual professional, culture is an important part of her practice. She gained a BA in Graphic Design from Universidad de Monterrey receiving a Cum Laude award and thesis accredited with honors. After working as a graphic designer and art director in NYC, Gaby chose to take the creative process into the healing and wellness of humankind and graduated with a Masters in Art Therapy from School of Visual Arts. She has worked with children, teens and young adults with acute, chronic and terminal illnesses at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City and at Methodist Children’s Hospital in San Antonio. She has also provided home-base art therapy services to at-risk children and youth. As part of the Beareavement Committee at NYU Langone she also worked with families, building legacy experiences through the art making process. She became a volunteer at the Children’s Bereavement Center of South Texas where for four years, she helped facilitate adult and children groups.

In 2016, she founded Annie Creative Studio for Wellness where sessions are tailored to help develop healthy expressive tools to people of all ages and all abilities in support to their ongoing growth and development. 

Gaby has presented to a variety of audiences on topics such as art therapy, trauma, bereavement, development, the use of materials and creativity and the importance of interdisciplinary collaborations. She curates workshops utilizing the expressive arts for brain development and wellness as she takes a strong interest in evidence-based healing and restoration through our bodies, our brain and the arts.

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