DBSA-Charlotte: Depression & Bipolar Support Alliance
Art Therapy Blog
Mental Health Art: Getting Started
Sites of Interest

        About This Page
This page is still in the idea stage and would change its name from time to time as we help promote various venues of recovery. One week  may be an art exhibit, one month may be stories of recovery. There are many possibilities. You could suggest one (or more) by emailing us: dbsacharlotte@gmail.com
Art of Recovery

The following events and publications have inspired us to try to offer looks at what other people in the community are doing to express themselves and aid their recovery.
See the website of naemi (National Art Exhibits of the Mentally Ill) to see the sort of thing we are shooting for locally. Perhaps we could go commercial, but on a much smaller scale.

Art of Recovery links S.C.'s mental health patients with the community 

Healing Process

For Brent Ashley, art is a miniature psychiatrist. When he paints, he makes sense of all the things in life that he couldn't otherwise understand. Like when his relationships have failed because he was too manic or fell into a depression. Or when he got paranoid that someone was trying to kill him or sabotage his creativity or steal his parents' money. Ashley's art is a visual diary of the experiences and emotions that, because of his bipolar disorder, he wasn't able to understand or connect with before.

"Art is a great part of therapy because it allows you to express subconscious feelings that you're not aware of on a physical platform, whether it be sculpture or painting or photography or music," the Summerville-based, SCAD-educated artist says. "Whatever it is, it's your subconscious that's coming out. It's something that you're not ready or willing to talk about verbally, and I think all great artists have done this."

Over the years, Ashley's paintings have been featured in Art of Recovery, a program that was established by the South Carolina Department of Mental Health in 2001 to highlight artwork created by mental health patients statewide. Its goal is not only to help the artists, but to help the public better grasp what they are going through. Sue Perry, the program's coordinator, says her artists see their work as a means of communication within the healing process. "I've been told by the artists that sometimes when there's not words to express yourself, you can express yourself through the art," she says

‘Art of Recovery’ show on exhibit through end of May

May 26, 2013 12:00 am  •  

Transitions-Mental Health Association will hold its annual “Art of Recovery” show through May 31, at 235 E. Inger Drive in Santa Maria. Local artists will have their work on display from noon to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The event was started in 1995 to offer people with mental illness a way to express themselves and to provide a venue to share art, feelings and thoughts with the general public.

The words of this year’s featured artist Arthur Thompson Jr., capture the essence of Art of Recovery, a community art show in celebration of living mentally well.

“Art can help you get through major tragedies in your life. I know for me, it was a gateway to start enjoying life again,” Thompson said. His impressionistic piece titled “The Lighthouse” will be on display for the duration of the show.

This year’s show, presented by TMHA and the Healing Arts Council of Santa Barbara County, has expanded to include the entire mental health community, encompassing those in recovery, their family and friends, and service providers.

The show takes place at the Recovery Learning Center at Rancho Hermosa. Attendees will also have the opportunity to preview the 200 square-foot space that will soon be a retail art gallery.

Frank Ricceri, Associate Director for Northern Santa Barbara County says, “Once permits and construction is completed, the retail space will provide employment opportunities. We are hopeful that TMHA’s mission of educating the public about the positive side of mental health can be showcased along with the artwork.”

TMHA is a nonprofit organization that operates 27 programs reaching more than 2,000 people in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties.

For more than 30 years, TMHA has helped provide housing, employment, case management and life-skills support to teens and adults with mental illness; and support, resources and education for their loved ones


Artist Karen Rees of Spotsylvania County says her artwork is an expression of her emotions, with the hope of creating joy in others.

One of her paintings, “Untitled 1,” will be on display at the Ponshop Studio and Gallery starting Friday as part of this month’s “The Art of Recovery” exhibit.

“I prefer acrylic paint, because I like the feel of the paint,” said the abstract artist, who is originally from Houston.

In its ninth year, “The Art of Recovery” features the art of adults with mental illness. The show is organized by members of Kenmore Club, a psychosocial rehabilitation program operated by The Rappahannock Area Community Services Board. The exhibit also coincides with National Mental Health Month.

Kaleidoscope magazine will be launched May 16 and includes Dawn Beirnes' drawing of a rose (CMHA)

Kaleidoscope, Wellness through Creative Expression is a magazine featuring artwork and literature by people who are affected by mental health issues. The fourth edition will be launched by the Canadian Mental Health Association on May 16.

A pencil drawing by Dawn Beirnes was chosen to be part of the magazine. "This is really exciting," she says. "I'm so proud. The most exciting thing for me is my name is on the front page, my picture's in there and I can share it with my brothers and my sisters and my friends. It doesn't say 'hello, you are mentally ill,' it says 'hello, these are 22 artists and poets that have created a wonderful thing that is going to go all over Manitoba.'"

Beirnes is bipolar. She says creating art has definitely helped her deal with her illness. "When I'm manic or depressed, that's when I draw. I write, draw or paint. The last time I was sick - or you might call it creative - I started painting and painted nine canvases," she says.

"What happens is the thoughts in my head get racing and if I have pen, pencil or a paintbrush in my hand, I can sit for hours and draw and try painstakingly to get everything perfect." Once she is feeling better, she stops drawing and the art book goes back into the drawer.

National Art Exhibitions by the Mentally Ill
                                           National Art Exhibitions by the Mentally Ill Opens 2013 Exhibition in Miami Today

The National Art Exhibitions by the Mentally Ill (NAEMI), an organization dedicated to collecting, displaying and selling of art by persons in recovery from mental illness, will open its 25th annual exhibition today, May 10th at Borders Picture Framing Gallery in Miami (1601 SW 1st Street, Miami, FL 33135). The opening reception will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. The exhibition will be on view through June 3, 2013. Free.

Lucia Ballester - "Mental illness has been in the news a lot recently. We want to blame it for many things it is not. Crimes are committed by many people with no mental illness all the time and more people than you think are receiving therapy or taking medication for mental illnesses and live normal lives.

Art therapy is one way of bringing happiness to all people and NAEMI (National Art Exhibitions by the Mentally Ill) has been promoting that for over 25 years. By holding the exhibition during May, we hope to bring additional attention to the struggle of those who have been diagnosed with mental illness," said NAEMI's Founder Juan Martin. "Our ultimate goal is to help these artists be recognized and fight the stigma that so often accompanies mental illness."

The exhibition features works of artists from Paraguay, Chile, Cuba, Spain and the United States. All 43 artworks featured in the exhibition will be available for sale, with the proceeds benefiting the artists and NAEMI's goals of helping artists from around the world.

Read more about National Art Exhibitions by the Mentally Ill Opens 2013 Exhibition in Miami Today - BWWVisual ArtsWorld by art.broadwayworld.com


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