FHR's Studio 35 empowers individuals through creativity

Published 05/28/2013

Art program enables Rhode Island artists in recovery to showcase work to Providence community

Providence, RI – For three individuals in Rhode Island, Bobby, John, and James, art has provided a crucial avenue for empowerment and self-expression. All three men are consumers of Fellowship Health Resources (FHR), a nonprofit behavioral healthcare agency. Studio 35, FHR’s healing arts program, has enabled them to further discover and embrace their artistic talents.

Every week, Bobby, John, and James have incorporated the arts as an important component of their recovery, attending art groups for instruction and open studio time. “In the past few months alone, all three individuals have made significant progress both socially and creatively,” said Studio 35 Artistic Leader Caroline Gates. “Being able to witness the ongoing growth of Studio 35 artists has been an incredible process. Having our consumers embrace creativity and integrate it into what we do every day is a perfect illustration of what this program is all about.”

At the 10th Annual Paul V. Sherlock Memorial Art Show, held in downtown Providence in April, all three artists had the opportunity to showcase pieces of their recent work and represent Studio 35. This show, sponsored by VSA Arts Rhode Island, is held at the Atrium Gallery on 1 Capitol Hill every year, and celebrates the accomplishments of talented adult artists in Rhode Island with a wide range of physical, cognitive, and mental health disabilities.

At the artist’s reception, Jeannine Chartier, Executive and Artistic Director of VSA Arts Rhode Island encouraged, “Through art, we can have power. Art can be activism. By expressing ourselves creatively, we challenge society’s stereotypes of what it means to have a disability.”

The sense of pride became evident as each of the three artists had members of the community purchase their displayed work. Bobby shared, “It makes me happy to see my work on the wall, and makes me want to work on my art even more. I feel proud today.”

FHR Residential Program Director Leah Babat added, “It is really an exciting experience, and I think this is a wonderful opportunity for our consumers to see their artwork displayed. It’s another avenue for recovery, and gives them a chance to have what they have accomplished be appreciated.”

This summer, FHR’s Studio 35 program in Rhode Island is planning an art and music event that will showcase the creativity of many other FHR consumers involved in this healing arts program. As Studio 35 expands its presence in the Rhode Island region, FHR continues to look for creative projects and partnerships within the community.

For more information about Studio 35’s programs and initiatives, please contact Studio 35 Artistic Leader Caroline Gates at 401-642-4431.