FHR's Summer Festival of the Arts celebrates creativity

Published 08/06/2013

Fellowship Health Resource’s healing arts program showcases the work of Rhode Island artists in recovery

Pawtucket, RI – August 1, 2013 – The power of the arts as a therapeutic tool took center stage as Fellowship Health Resource’s (FHR) Rhode Island region welcomed an enthusiastic audience at the collaborative art space, Dean’s List. “Tonight truly represents the growth that we’ve witnessed and the incredible work that our artists have created,” Studio 35 Artistic Leader Caroline Gates explains.  

The art Gates describes is produced by individuals served by FHR, a behavioral healthcare organization with programs in seven states. Through FHR’s healing arts program, Studio 35, individuals recovering from mental illness and addiction disorders have integrated creativity as an important component of their treatment plans. By attending weekly art groups for instruction and open studio time, the artists have made significant process, both socially and creatively.

The artists were joined by community members and other non-profit organizations, as well as FHR staff, their peers, and families to enjoy the pieces on display. Framed artwork, as well as greeting cards and Studio 35 t-shirts were sold to benefit the program, with the artists receiving the majority of the profit.

“Studio 35 is all about the arts, and we really wanted that to be shown tonight,” explained Rhode Island Practice Manager Amanda Connolly. “It’s not just one painting or picture, it’s all of the arts, put together, for everyone to enjoy.”

Artwork on display included abstract sketches, a portrait collection, painted birdhouses, crocheted caps, and scenic watercolor illustrations. Frank Pace and the All-Stars, a band comprised of FHR staff and individuals served in Massachusetts, added a positive vibe to the evening, performing a classic rock set, including hits such as “Shine” and “My Girl.”    

“This is an idea that has taken hold in seven states,” FHR Director of Special Projects Joe Dziobek explained. “If you look on the walls at what people have drawn, it is powerful to understand that many of these individuals had never created art before. They had all of these important things to say, but didn’t have a medium to express it, and now they do.”

“This event is a perfect illustration of what FHR does on a daily basis, and how committed we are to the individuals we serve,” said FHR President & CEO Debra Paul. “Watching these artists walk around the room and show others what they have created is inspirational, and proves the important role that the arts continues to have to those in recovery.”

The night drew to a close as everyone gathered on the dance floor, moving to the rhythm of the band.

“If you paint one picture, you want to paint another, if you sing one song, you’ll want to do it again, and what has grown from the grassroots level is people excelling at the things that make them who they are, and allows them to share their story,” Dziobek added.

As Studio 35 expands its presence in Rhode Island, it aims to continue to join forces with those interested in sharing their expertise and creative expression. For more information about Studio 35’s programs and initiatives, please contact Studio 35 Artistic Leader Caroline Gates at (401) 642-4431.