For those that didn’t know, I have spent the last several weeks teaching an art class within the Capital District Psychiatric Center. My goal is to get funding to expand a program that makes fine art classes a part of mental health treatment both inside and outside the hospital in the city I live in: Albany, NY.
Again for those who didn’t know: this is a goal for me, because I know when I was inpatient in CDPC, art groups were important to me as a way to rebuild my life in the hard times I was having. The art groups were something I looked forward to each day when I was inpatient. As teacher, I want to use art to help troubled people do what I did: get out of the hospital and live better lives outside of the mental health system. Mentally ill people can live full lives, hold jobs, and stay well. We can and do recover. I feel like art can help mentally ill people do that, and I am not alone in that belief.
In that spirit, I’d like to show some of the in-class demonstrations I have done. These are sketches and things I did during the class, demonstrating for my students, art techniques and skills.
It’s my hope that my students not only develop their own skill, but find ways to make art a part of thier lives once they are back living in the community –professionally, or non-professionally.
Art is important. I know from looking around my classroom, art is important to helping struggling people heal.
This past week the class has been working with mannikins (croquis) I was able to purchase with the grant money I received. The class has really latched on to drawing with croquis. This past week, I have been encourage students to pose the croquis and talk about an incident in their lives. The class has a two-fold purpose of not only teaching art, but as an informal part of the students therapy and recover from significant mental illness (all students are currently admitted on an in-patient basis). There are two images from this (my in-class demonstrations):
The first sketch: a student described a family member who had overcome addiction.
The pose is meant to describe a student’s experience during a recent depressive episode.
Adding some new works, older sketches and works are towards the bottom of the post.
First, a figure study. Study of a child playing, including an illustrated armature (left). In class demonstration.
Reproduction, Paul Cezanne. Working on landscapes, explanation of horizon line. Oil pastel on paper.