Students in the MPS Art Therapy Department recently teamed up with Hospital Audiences, Inc. (HAI), the nonprofit that facilitates art experiences for culturally underserved New Yorkers, and FEGS Health and Human Services to lead a series of workshops with individuals with chronic mental illness. To make the experience meaningful to participants of various ages and backgrounds, HAI Art Studio Creative Director Francis Palazzolo suggested they take up one of the most familiar of human experiences: friendship.
The workshops provided the material for the exhibition “Signs of Friendship,” in which the artists celebrate the dynamic aspects of friendship by exploring feelings of closeness, comfort and connection. According to Val Sereno, the faculty member in the MPS Art Therapy Department who supervised the students, expressing recognizable signs of friendship between people was difficult for many of the participants. After much discussion, though, they were able to skirt the edges of friendship, from attraction to volatile emotional states between friends.
Sereno will take part in a panel discussion entitled Mental Health and the Art of Friendship on Tuesday, October 23, 6pm, 548 Broadway, 3rd floor.
“Signs of Friendship” will be on view at The Gallery at HAI, 548 Broadway, 3rd floor, September 29 through December 1. There will be a reception on Saturday, September 29, 6 – 9pm. Viewing hours are Monday through Saturday, noon to 6pm; admission is free.
Image: Angela Rogers