Artists of Birch Tree: Original Works by Adults with Mental Illnesses


Landscape by Theresia BallArtists of Birch Tree: Original Works by Adults with Mental Illnesses
Second Floor Gallery
November 10 through February 4, 2007
Opening Reception on Friday, November 10,
5 – 8 pm in conjunction with 2nd Friday Art Night

Artists of Birch Tree showcases original works by adults with mental illnesses.  Birch Tree Communities, headquartered in Benton, Arkansas, is a non-profit state-certified community mental health clinic that serves more than 300 adults all over the state. It provides a full range of clinical and rehabilitative services aimed at encouraging its members to re-enter the community with new skills and hope for greater satisfaction with the quality of their lives. Every week at Birch Tree, instruction is provided in visual arts (painting, drawing and pottery), creative writing, photography, dramatic arts, film-making, music and dance. The adult students, many of whom had never before held a paint brush in their hands, have won recognition in art shows and appeared in textbooks on therapy and recovery.

The selection of art exhibited at Historic Arkansas Museum is a combination of self portraits, landscape paintings, still-life sketches and photography. The works are vibrant, impulsive, and as a body of work, they transcend popular culture’s prescribed expectation for so many individuals with mental illness.