Carolyn Hale believes in the healing power of art. That’s why she formed Circle of Friends, a small-scale project that joins people who are mentally ill and community volunteers to paint, write, and do other creative projects together. It is in part a response to cuts in services for the mentally ill, and also an effort to increase public understanding and compassion.
Volunteers share their art talents and develop new relationships in the process. For mentally ill participants, art projects help build confidence and can also be a valuable form of communication. Art is “an instant telling of something within yourself,” Hale says. “If you don’t have words, it’s another way to express it.”
Ultimately, Hale takes pride in small acts of understanding and accomplishment — the satisfaction of selling a painting, or a ride offered to someone who hasn’t been in a car in months — that contribute to participants’ well-being. As one backer of Circle of Friends observed, “drugs help with symptoms, but art builds health.”
To volunteer, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For copy of actual issue, go to https://www.realchangenews.org/2007/01/17/jan-17-2007-entire-issue