About Us

Who are we? First and foremost, we are artists. Awakenings has been riding the crest of a trend in recent years. The collecting of fine art created by persons living with mental illnesses has become fairly widespread, with several associations curating and showing pieces at national venues. Other literary magazines devoted to people with mental illnesses have appeared on the landscape.

Some researchers conclude that among scores of celebrated artists, writers and musicians there exists some positive relationship between affective disorders and being endowed with creative genius. Though the Awakenings Project does not purport to be a breeding ground for artistic geniuses, there does appear to be important and widespread interest in artistic endeavors among people with psychiatric disorders.

Epidemiological research suggests that as much as 10% of the population of the United States may experience a major mental illness in their lifetimes. As many as 25% of women and 12% of men experience an episode of major depression sometime during their lives .Fully 1% of the population meets the diagnostic criteria for schizophrenia, while another 1 to 2% fit into the bipolar (manic-depression) category. There have been significant advancements in the treatment of severe and persistent mental illnesses through medicine and psychotherapy, helping people to overcome disabilities related to these illnesses and to recover. Recovery and empowerment can be advanced even further by participation in self-help efforts such as The Awakenings Project.

The Healing Power of Creativity

People familiar with psychiatric illnesses understand the painful loss of purpose and self-esteem which often accompany these disorders. The arts can heal some of these wounds, providing individuals who struggle with these disabling illnesses hope, purpose, and a sense of identity. Self-expression through art—whether it be in the form of painting, writing poetry or short stories, playing a musical instrument or composing a piece of music, or writing, producing, or playing a role in a dramatic production—is a purposeful and optimistic activity.

Art, whether it be fine art or art therapy, heals some of the personal wounds brought about by mental ill health. It is a purposeful and optimistic activity. The artists plan exhibits, look forward to upcoming shows, grow and develop their artistic talents. The artists receive positive feedback, field questions about their art, and also make sales or win commissions. Writers, on the other hand, find vindication in seeing their work published in an attractive and reputable journal.

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The Support of Community

The Development of Competence

The Discovery of Confidence

Giving Back through Contributing

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