Bailee Dodson ’20
Jordan College of the Arts
Major: Art + Design, Psychology
Hometown: Zionsville, IN
It took a little looking back for Bailee Dodson to find her way forward.
She grew up in Zionsville, Indiana with a brother who struggled with a learning disability. The medication he was prescribed didn’t help as much as it was supposed to.
“In fact, it kind of totally changed him. He became tired all the time, even to the point that he no longer wanted to connect with anyone around him,” she said. “It was tough for all of us. But luckily, when I was a junior in high school, my teacher told me about art therapy.”
Using creative and self-expressive means to therapeutic ends sounded like the perfect career choice for Bailee. It combined her passion for the arts and helping others with her curiosity of how the mind works, but there was a catch.
Not many universities offer art therapy as an undergraduate degree. Not even Butler University, where she was set to attend in the fall of 2016. But fortunately for her, the Jordan College of the Arts encourages its Art + Design majors to earn a secondary major.
“I needed a little direction, and it only took one meeting with my director to realize I could also get a Psychology degree at the same time to make my own art therapy degree,” she said. “And other schools in the area offered courses I could enroll in on a part-time basis to prepare me for grad school. All the right opportunities just started falling into place.”
By the time her first year year ended, Bailee would need no further proof that she was exactly where she needed to be.
She was awarded best in series at the Art Now showcase for the way she expressed an array of different emotions by painting with watercolors, a technique she’s found effective in helping people just like her brother.
She also volunteered with kids and families at Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health, before eventually earning a graduate degree in art therapy across town at the Herron School of Art and Design. As Bailee’s exciting future continues to unfold, it’s not something she takes for granted.
“My professors and classmates haven’t just helped me find my voice; they’ve helped me find its purpose. Being vulnerable isn’t easy,” she said, “but sometimes it’s the only way to heal. It’s amazing how choosing our own paintbrush, canvas, or color can help us open up and find the help we need.”