Art: A Tool for Breaking Stigma
April 18, 2023
Written by Mindy Liss, Vice President for Communications
Art proved to be an especially important lifeline during the 2+ years of the pandemic for the people served at ICL – for whom loneliness and disconnection were particularly acute. When it was safe, many of the artists came to use the Hub art room they had become comfortable working in. They worked on their art socially distanced, wearing masks. Being there with their fellow artists helped break the isolation and allowed them to give expression to all the emotions the pandemic had brought on.
In spite of the pandemic forcing the closure or shift to remote operation of their ICL programs – and the shut-down of much of the world – these individuals showed a prolific dedication to their artistic process.
Once the Brooklyn Museum reopened, plans were made for an exhibit of this work created during the pandemic as well as new work done since Museum visits had been re-started. Teaching Artist Dylan Stanfield, who leads the Hub art studio as well as a program at ICL residences for developmentally disabled, helped the artists regroup to get the visits up and running again. One exhibit they had the chance to view was A Crack in the Hourglass: An Ongoing COVID 19 Memorial by artist Rafael Lozano – Hemmer. Viewing this work inspired a collaborative piece in memory of a fellow artist from ICL who passed away from COVID-19 early in the pandemic. Trying to make sense of the world, the artists used their creativity and imagination to craft a visual poem about these times. Many found this process to be a lifeline in a time of great uncertainty.
An opening reception was held last June for the newest show Creating a Lifeline; still-masked artists and friends gathered to celebrate the unlikely production of work. This dedication to making art under these circumstances demonstrates how important the artists feel about their creative expression, and the role it plays in their ability to live a spiritually, mentally, and physically healthy life.
All who had the chance to view the work over the course of the exhibit’s four-month run likely came away with a new understand of what it means to live with a mental illness and to struggle to lead a full and productive life.
ICL helps New Yorkers of all backgrounds and ages living with serious mental illness, substance use disorder, and developmental disabilities achieve greater health and independence. From housing to care coordination to office- and school-based support, our innovative whole health approach addresses behavioral and physical health as well as the social determinants of health such as housing and food security.
Read via Behavioral Health News.