Our staff runs a weekly art program and invites clients to indulge their creativity as they explore their feelings, motivations, fears, and dreams. This very powerful program has allowed the staff at CHOICE to reach clients previously thought unreachable. “It’s an amazing thing to watch someone walk into a room full of fear and anxiety, sit down at a table and start to draw or paint or collage…and all of a sudden, they are able to express things they’ve never been able to before,” said Choice Executived Director Guy Fessenden. “Art is an incredible outlet for our clients.”
Art taps into parts of the brain that sometimes talking just can’t do. It unlocks things that are hidden and allows people to explore and communicate emotions that just can’t be verbalized. It’s a non-threatening way to get at the issues that might be holding someone back. One of our clients once commented “When I first came to CHOICE, I was pretty much non-communicative. I didn’t want to talk to anybody. Sarah [Director of the CHOICE Art Program] encouraged me to start drawing. I thought it was pretty lame, but then I started drawing pictures of my younger brother. He committed suicide years ago and I had never before been able to talk about that. Since then, I’ve been a lot better about expressing my feelings. I’m going in the right direction and I’m going to make something of myself. Thanks to CHOICE.”
Some of the art created by our group is quite amazing. Many have discovered talents they never even knew they had. Last year, our group participated in two exhibitions, one at Arts Westchster in White Plains and one at the Charles Fazzino art studio during New Rochelle Arts Fest. You can see a perpetual and rotating collection in our online art gallery where we offer the works for sale. Half the proceeds go to benefit our arts program and half go directly to the artist.
We offer up this link to The American Art Therapy Association for more reading on the power of art to communicate and heal.