I have never seen such enthusiasm my whole life as I did while attending the art opening at the Traverse City Inside Out Art Gallery on November 19. Even though the show will continue through December 17, the power of recovery was especially alive and beaming in that room at the opening reception. Despite the nasty weather outside of freezing rain, people were showing up from all over our six-county area!! Case managers, therapists, clients, family members, community partners, interested community members, friends, neighbors . . . it was just amazing. About 150 people attended the opening reception and I’m sure that more people have taken the opportunity to see the show since that date.
This was the first time I had been to the art opening. It was more than an incredible feeling to see so many familiar faces and also folks I had never met before in my years working here at Northern Lakes. What I thought was the most empowering thing ever, was to hear people making comments like, “Look at the talent in that piece!” or “Wow, that person really has some inner strengths to be able to paint like that.” From an insider’s point of view as a previous consumer of services myself, I feel that statements such as these help people who have not been diagnosed themselves be better educated into understanding that even with a mental illness diagnosis, we are people too. But the funny thing about it is that there were TONS of pieces of art not done by Northern Lakes consumers or family members that folks were making the same comments about. Many people submitted artwork who are recovering from things other than mental illness, such as car accidents, cancer, loss of a loved one, and other issues. So really, is there a difference? On that specific day, there was not. Everyone was one with no stigma attached. Everyone appreciated and recognized that recovery is part of the human journey for all of us.
Combined with the art show was an amazing turnout for the “Mindstorm” Virtual Hallucination program. This was brought to our agency yet again offering an opportunity for folks to actually feel for five minutes what someone who experiences hallucinations might go through…a very touching experience.
Again, MORE amazing recovery movement at Northern Lakes that I’m more than honored to be a part of. The subtitle of the Art of Recovery: The Human Journey show is “I Will Heal.” I definitely felt the healing process all around me that day! Kudos again to the Inside Out Gallery owner, Mike Curths, for allowing us the use and space at no charge. And thank you for all those who both entered artwork and who came to support it! ROCK ON, NORTHERN LAKES!!!
The show continues through December 17. The Inside Out Gallery is located at 229 Garland Street in the new “Warehouse District” in Traverse City, just around the corner from the Northern Lakes Traverse City office. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Thursday, 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.