Doctor gives the gift of art: Painting nets hundreds for mental health organization

(Grand Traverse Herald, Feb 17, 2009; Traverse City Record Eagle, Feb 18, 2009)


Doctor gives the gift of artTRAVERSE CITY — Dr. Frank Tosiello found a way to combine his passion for painting and his commitment to the mental health community by offering one of his paintings for sale to benefit Northern Lakes Community Mental Health.

The painting, a replica of Rembrandt’s “A Woman Bathing in a Stream,” was sold to an anonymous purchaser for $510, who then donated the painting back to the mental health organization for permanent display. Proceeds raised from the sale will be used for art supplies for free-to-the-community art groups.

“Frank has dedicated a great deal of energy to improving the lives of people living with psychiatric and developmental disabilities in our communities,” said Greg Paffhouse, Northern Lakes chief executive officer of the program that serves adults and children with developmental disabilities, adults with serious mental illness and children with serious emotional disturbance living in a six-county area of northern Michigan.

“He is a brilliant, caring and generous individual who has made a significant contribution over the years to the work we do,” Paffhouse said.

Tosiello, who turned 90 this year, began his career as a psychiatric nurse, earned master’s and doctoral degrees from Columbia University and is a former professor of nursing and a consultant with the New York State Office of Mental Health. Since moving to Traverse City eight years ago, Tosiello has served on the Community Mental Health board of directors recipient rights advisory committee and is a member of the local chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Health.

“I have always been interested in providing services to people that were in some way disabled,” said Tosiello, who took up painting when he retired in 1989.

Using personal photographs and well-known masterpieces as inspiration, Tosiello says it is never too late to try something new.

“I like the challenge and the feeling of relaxation that painting brings to me,” said Tosiello, who hopes that others will find similar benefits by participating in Northern Lakes’ art classes led by Thomas McClellan, an experienced process painting instructor with a master’s degree in counseling psychology and a certificate in holistic health.

“There is a tremendous feeling of satisfaction, being able to put my feelings down on canvas,” Tosiello said.

The recovery art classes are free and open to the public. The classes meet every other week in Traverse City, Cadillac, Grayling and Houghton Lake with support by a grant from the Michigan Department of Community Health. No registration, supplies or experience are required.

The class schedule is included in the calendar of events on Northern Lakes’ Web site at For more information, call 922-4850.

See link below for direct link to the story and more photos

Link to More Information (will open in a new window)