Can Painting Cairns Be Therapeutic?

Painting Cairns Be Therapeutic

If you hike far enough on almost any trail in the world, you’re likely to come across a rock pile or stack that looks like a sculpture—some call them cairns. While some people view these man-made structures as an eyesore, others use them for navigation or art-related purposes. Still, others argue that kicking these impromptu stacks over can actually hurt hikers and cause dangerous rock falls.

As a result, many National Park Service employees discourage rock-stacking in remote areas of their parks and instead employ route-marking systems that use signage, maps, or even a compass to guide hikers to the next waypoint. Still, despite their negative reputation, painting cairns serve a number of important functions in the backcountry and are often used by hikers to mark trails and share information with fellow outdoorsmen and women.

During Queensland Mental Health Week 2023, the Cairns-based RAR Therapy hosted an art exhibition at their premises to raise awareness of mental health and wellness concerns. The event was a success, bringing in more visitors than expected and delighting the artists who participated.

Can Painting Cairns Be Therapeutic?

The organisers also wanted to highlight the importance of building a community through artistic pursuits. The exhibition featured the works of local artists with lived mental health and wellbeing experience. Guests were encouraged to interact with the artwork and ask the artists questions about their creative process.

Painting has been shown to offer a number of benefits for physical and mental health. For one, it helps increase nonverbal communication, allowing people to express ideas and feelings, capture memories, or imagine other worlds without needing to speak out loud. It can also be used to communicate difficult feelings or experiences that are otherwise too painful to share verbally.

In the vast expanse of nature, where landscapes stretch out uninterrupted, there exists a subtle yet profound form of artistry – painting cairns. These humble yet captivating structures, composed of carefully balanced stones, serve as markers, guideposts, and perhaps most intriguingly, as canvases for artistic expression. Each cairn tells a story, not just of the journey of its creator, but also of the environment in which it resides and the cultural significance it carries.

Aside from these physical health benefits, painting is also proven to boost brain function, especially in parts of the brain that are responsible for memory and concentration. Studies have shown that people who regularly practice a variety of creative activities have less of a chance of developing Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia in later life.

For those who are considering pursuing an arts education, the College of Fine Arts at Cairn University has a variety of degree programs available. Students can choose from a range of courses that cover everything from basic artistic techniques to the history and foundations of art and design. The programs are designed to help students weld their artistic knowledge with a biblical worldview, preparing them for professional work or further academic study.

Aside from its growing numbers of art degree programs, Cairn has also recently launched several new criminal justice and health science degrees. Applicants can learn more about applying to these and other degree programs on the college’s website.

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