Artists in recovery celebrate FHR's second annual Studio 35 Day

Published 01/31/2013


Fellowship Health Resources participates in agency-wide expressive arts event in all nine regions

Lincoln, RI – January 25, 2013 – Blank canvases became bold works of art, voices and instruments harmonized, and indoor gardens blossomed as FHR (Fellowship Health Resources) celebrated its 2nd Annual Studio 35 Day. In all of the seven states and nine regions where FHR provides services, staff and persons served gathered to celebrate creative expression as a powerful tool in recovery.

“Today is all about embracing creativity. Studio 35 Day allows the FHR community to celebrate coming together and utilizing the arts as a form of self-expression,” Caroline Gates, Studio 35 Artistic Leader explained.

Studio 35, an innovative program of FHR, is an agency-wide therapeutic arts approach that provides individuals recovering from mental illness and addictive disorders a valuable extension to traditional therapy. Through implementing arts in the form of visual art, music, dance, horticulture, and writing, among other arts, Studio 35 enables persons served, staff, and community members to explore self-expression and creativity.

This year’s theme, Enhance Your Region, enabled all of FHR’s nine regions to hold activities that would further enrich their artistic programs and spaces. Events that took place ranged from the creation of murals to learning how to line dance.

In Wareham, Massachusetts, Studio 35 artists gathered to design and paint a mural. The morning began with a brainstorming session, collecting ideas to incorporate into the final piece. In a few short hours, vibrant art had been created. One Studio 35 artist shared, “I guess you don’t know you have it in you until you try it.” He went on to say, “Today I learned new art techniques, made some friends, and helped paint a mural that we’re all really proud of. When I look at this painting, I’m blown away. I can’t believe that we created it.”

Meanwhile, in Fall River, Massachusetts, the FHR community celebrated Studio 35 Day through art and music. Artists created drawings and paintings while the “Studio 35 All-Star Band” performed original music. One individual sang and played the guitar to a song he had written about Fall River. The lyrics “United we stand … working this land toward a common goal and making a better Fall River,” sent a positive message and vibe to all that were present.

Therese Bernier, FHR Rehab and Recovery Coordinator, described the day’s events saying, “This program has given a purpose to many. Studio 35 artists are now helping other peers express themselves, and really blooming. Like a garden, we are all growing together.”  

In Cape Cod, Massachusetts, Studio 35 artists created artwork at the Falmouth Artists Guild, renewing their connection with the artistic community in Massachusetts. In tune with the theme Enhance Your Region, pictures were drawn of the famous painting “Dance at Bougival.” Just down the street, residents at Bayberry House designed a mural to decorate their new Studio 35 artistic space. The day was a great success, allowing Studio 35 artists and community members to celebrate the true mission of FHR.

At Westwick House in West Warwick, Rhode Island, staff and persons served incorporated artwork on the walls to inspire creative interaction. The day began by everyone gathering together to decorate the area using chalkboard paint. In addition, Rhode Island photograph printing company Winkflash donated its services so that residents could enlarge and frame pictures taken from the garden they had created this past summer. One consumer commented, “I wasn’t sure what to think about framing the pictures, but it was my favorite part. It brought so much light and color into this area.”

Rhode Island Regional Practice Manager Amanda Connolly added, “This day was truly a chance for consumers and staff alike to see how much art can enhance the places we call home.”

In Chester County, Pennsylvania, staff and residents gathered to celebrate art through a variety of artistic activities, including painting, dancing, and music. Consumers were invited to bring their own music and instruments to join in on a “jam session” with an open microphone. In addition, line dancing lessons were held, where staff and consumers joined in to learn the steps to several songs. The day was complete when everyone contributed to a creative mural to be hung in the space.

The FHR community in Pennsylvania agreed that the day was all about using art as a means for inspiration and self-expression. Made evident by the good spirit and smiling faces, FHR Community Liaison Marianne Horan, explained, “It was a great way to mark the day and remember that the road to recovery is shared by all.”  

At the Acceptance, Change, Empowerment (A.C.E.) Center in Seaford, Delaware, Studio 35 invited staff, persons served, and the community, to come together to take part in creative projects. A variety of donated art supplies, including crayons, markers, pencils, and stickers, enabled the center to celebrate by creating drawings, gift cards for loved ones, and a Studio 35 collage. One individual that participated commented, “The collage was my favorite part of the day. Everyone was involved and contributed, so this really showcases the artist in all of us. We really had a lot of fun being creative together.”

Persons served and staff from both Cary and Raleigh, North Carolina, collaborated to cultivate a bright and colorful indoor container garden. The day began by working together to paint and decorate clay pots. Next, plants were pooled together and planted in terra cotta containers. The beautiful planters will be displayed at the entranceways and lobbies of programs throughout North Carolina. Through working together to be creative and bring beauty to spaces within the FHR community, this project recognized what Studio 35 Day is truly about.

In Arlington, Virginia, Studio 35 artists have been busy learning new creative painting and drawing techniques. Program Director Liv Salvador explained that persons served have gravitated to both art and pet therapy groups, providing individuals with an opportunity to improve non-verbal communications skills. She added, “Studio 35 has really been blossoming in our area. As a region, we are very excited for 2013 and expanding Studio 35 in Virginia.”

At the Ralph Street Home in Bangor, Maine, staff and persons served pooled their creativity to add color to their home. Compiling photographs of places that they have visited during day trips, Studio 35 artists picked their favorite pictures to be printed and hung on a wall within their space. Once the pictures were framed, each photograph was hung on a staggered line, leaving room for more pictures to be added in the coming years. One person served commented, “When you look at these pictures, you can really see the story we are all a part of. How we came together to create this was a really great thing.”  

Pictures and stories shared agency-wide were proof of the day’s success in support of FHR’s mission. “Helping individuals to express themselves through creativity is not something that is a supplement to a service we provide; it’s part of the core. Studio 35 changes lives, and that’s what makes celebrating today so important,” FHR President and CEO Joe Dziobek said in awe. “Oftentimes, an idea catches a little steam and then just sort of fizzles out. This is not the case with Studio 35. We know that recovery is real, and that this program can help you get there.”

To get involved with the exciting new programs being offered by Studio 35, contact Studio 35 Artistic Leader Caroline Gates at 401-642-4431.