Osiris Ordaz ’18
Berwyn, Illinois

Art as therapy

Osiris dreams of opening an art center to provide an outlet for artistic expression and counseling services to Chicago youth. After she graduates, she plans to return to the Windy City and earn a master’s degree in art therapy. In the meantime, she’s making the most of her Northwestern experience, serving as a student ambassador, tutor, student employee in the Career Development Center, and member of the Honors Program.

Major decisions
Ever since I can remember, art has been a constant presence in my life. So when I was deciding on my major, I knew I didn’t want to take just a few art classes; I wanted to be immersed in the subject. Not only was the idea of creating art for homework every day appealing to me, but I also looked forward to learning the proper techniques for the various mediums available here at Northwestern. Art is all about rule-breaking, but I know I have to learn the rules before I can break them.

Embracing the unexpected
I don’t think I can pinpoint just one favorite memory from my first year at Northwestern, but almost all of my favorite memories happened when I least expected them. Campus life at Northwestern provides a routine where you can comfortably fall into step with your schedule and classes, but it also provides numerous opportunities to break from routine and do something spontaneous that you’ve never tried before.

The art of praise
As an art major and a Christian, I feel like I'm faced with stereotypes about what can be considered “Christian art.” Learning to embrace abstract art as a way of glorifying God has challenged me, and so has finding ways to lead people to God through my work. Having conversations with other students on campus about this subject helped strengthen and shape my faith, as well as reading outside the classroom about various other artists who are on the same path.

Professing faith
All of Northwestern’s art professors integrate faith in their teaching of art, and they encourage their students to express faith in their work. Some classes, like art history, also look at how other artists expressed their faith—whether they were considered Christians or not. I think this is extremely important to grow and strengthen my own faith, because I’m introduced to other perspectives. The art classes I have taken have been extremely important in my journey of making my faith my own.