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Arts in Mental Health

The Mental Health Association incorporates art therapy and arts-based initiatives to promote the overall well-being of the people we serve, and to raise awareness and reduce stigma surrounding mental illness. Expressive arts support mental health and wellness for both the artist and the viewer by promoting empathy, insight, and self-expression. The arts foster safe dialogue about challenging topics, social justice issues, or traumatic events.* The act of creation helps us to assign meaning to our experiences and reminds us that we are not alone.

The Art of Repair

Life may never be the same after trauma hits, but beauty and meaning can emerge from the breakage, if you are willing to do the work. During these uncertain times, when much may seem broken, or in jeopardy, these artists hope you will take inspiration from their own process and reflections about this broken bowl work.

Borrowing upon the centuries old, Japanese practice of Kintsugi, or golden joinery, these artists found new meaning after loss. By intentionally breaking a ceramic object, assigning meaning to each broken element, and joining the pieces back together, each artist created an object that is uniquely transformed, and beautifully whole.

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My Mother’s Keeper

Mental illness can wreak havoc on a daughter’s life with the force of a natural disaster. The experience can also be transformative, summoning empathy, resilience, and untapped wisdom.

My Mother’s Keeper is a multi-media exhibit about women living with mental illness as seen through the eyes of their daughters and includes work by 21 artists from across the United States and Canada. This traveling exhibit was developed through a partnership of MHA’s Intensive Family Support Services and The Creativity Caravan’s co-founders Amy Tingle and Maya Stein.

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Out In The Open. In It Together.

The MHA Inside Out Project Group Action is part of a Ted Prize winning, global, participatory art project by artist JR. The portraits of hope and resilience in our group action seek to change the conversation surrounding mental illness. Our exhibit consists of 31 larger than life sized photographic portraits of individuals who have been impacted by mental illness.

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The Sibling Scene and Beyond

This gallery features work created by people impacted by the mental illness of a family member, significant other, friend, or loved one, most often with the facilitation of an art therapist. Art therapy can help people express difficult feelings in a safe, contained, and enjoyable manner, and may lead to insight, stress reduction, and a heightened sense of wellness.

Here you will find collage work, sculpture, paintings, drawing, textile work, altered book making, and more. Check back periodically to view new and emerging work.

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The Cloud Club For Kids

THE CLOUD CLUB FOR KIDS, Every Cloud Has a Silver Lining, is an art therapy pilot program for children and teens learning to cope with a parent or family member’s mental illness.  With the guidance of a trained art therapist, art-making provides relief from trauma, promotes understanding, and creates a safe space to address difficult topics. Participation is free. To learn more contact Renee Folzenlogen at rfolzenlogen@mhaessexmorris.org

The Cloud Club for Kids is made possible through a 2021 leverage grant from IMPACT 100 Essex, and generous donations from its IMPACT 100 Essex membership.

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*Stuckey, H. L., & Nobel, J. (2010). The connection between art, healing, and public health: a review of current literature. American journal of public health, 100(2), 254–263. https://doi.org/10.2105/AJPH.2008.156497

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