Fredericksburg, Virginia–Recovery is messy, and it looks different to each person. When substance abuse and mental health therapists ask individuals to paint their journey to recovery, some use a bright palette to create a vision of hope. Others sketch their demons. For each, art offers a way to express the struggles that accompany mental illness.
Each year, Rappahannock Area Community Services Board honors the role creativity plays in mental wellness by holding the Art of Recovery exhibit. The 14th annual art show will open May 4 at PONSHOP Studio and Gallery in Fredericksburg. A “First Friday” opening night event will be held Friday, May 4, from 5-9 p.m. A reception featuring live music, poetry, and readings will begin at 6:30 p.m. in the gallery’s courtyard.
The show is organized by members of Kenmore Club, a psychosocial rehabilitation program operated by RACSB. The exhibit coincides with National Mental Health Month and will be on display through May 27.
The Art of Recovery will feature 45 pieces from 40 artists. Artwork includes original drawings, acrylic and oil paintings on canvas, as well as mixed media and ceramics. All of the pieces will be available for purchase.
The Art of Recovery provides a forum for artists living with mental illness to gain confidence in their abilities, address misconceptions surrounding mental illness, and experience community support.
“Art can be so healing,” said John Butler, coordinator of RACSB’s crisis stabilization services. “Art is a method of journaling, to share life experiences. It provides a safe haven for expression of feelings, hopes and dreams. Although art can be judged, art doesn’t judge. The Art of Recovery helps society in general to look at people beyond their disability and for folks with disabilities to not be defined by those disabilities.”