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Students Combine Art and Technology to Help Build Self-Esteem

A positive take on tech and kids

Madison Miller

Published on: January 24, 2024

A boy and girl using a tablet together

Seattle-based lifelong artist Catherine Mayer has witnessed art’s transformative effects on people. She first saw it when she was painting public murals and passersby would stop to marvel and be moved, she said.

“They enjoyed watching the process of art being made,” she says, adding that they would pepper her with questions and comments.

And now she gets to see those effects on a much larger scale. She came up with the idea of developing a drawing app. The L.A.U.G.H. (Let Art Unleash Great Happiness) app is now being implemented in schools and programs nationwide. Locally, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Bellevue have started using the app. Over the past few months, more than 250 kids at the clubs have used the app to create thousands of pieces of animated artwork.

“The whole point of the app was not to create another drawing app — there are plenty of those out there,” Mayer says in a press release. “This is about leveraging technology to explore and expand how art is instrumental in healing and calming.”

The L.A.U.G.H. app is one of the only evidence-based apps designed to help users relax, focus, and build self-esteem through art, music and breathing by combining contour drawing activities, music and breathing exercises.

Users can create digital art and then watch a replay of their creation, save and share their artwork, and more. The app is free but can only be used on a tablet.

Mayer says kids are able to slow down, focus and get into a “meditative-like state” while using the app. One of the best aspects of the app, Mayer says, is that anyone can use it.

“Art is this international communicator. It creates connection,” she says.

Head to the website to learn more about the L.A.U.G.H. app. 

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