Art of Recovery
This exhibit is entirely digital until further notice. Stay tuned for more information on our galleries, virtual interviews, and the reopening of our gallery doors as we navigate how to best move forward for our audience and visitors. Brought to Maryland Hall by Anne Arundel County Mental Health Agency in partnership with Recovery Anne Arundel, The Art of Recovery showcases how artists use their talents to express what words cannot. Their art helps celebrate the joys of recovery and demonstrates the many conditions artists face ranging from homelessness, mental health, and addiction. Many of the artists are from Arundel Lodge, a local non-profit helping adults, children, and families impacted by mental health and substance use disorders, and Chrysalis House, an addiction treatment center for women and children.
Curator: Dania Blair Schuh, Special Project Care Coordinator with Anne Arundel Mental Health Agency, Inc.
(left) Sarah K., Idealist, Graphite on Paper, NFS, Portrait of a Girl I, Graphite on Paper, NFS (right) Portrait of a Girl II, Graphite on Paper, NFS
(left) Takia J., The Weak Act of Addiction, (middle) Takia J., The Weak Act of Addiction, Painting, (right) Shoshoni B., Untitled, Painting
(left) Taneshe Y., The Hole in my Soul, Acrylic on Canvas (Middle) Erica O., Love, Painting, (right) Tiffany M., The Day as Clearing, Acrylic
Sarah K., What Dreams Are Made Of, Oil on Canvas, NFS, (middle) Alex B., Resolution, Photography, (right) Gilda I., Peace at Last, Cross-Stitch
Testimonials of Artists
“I am 28 years old. I have a 6-year-old son. I have been in and out of (recovery) rooms for a few years now. I have hopes that one day at a time I will be able to stay clean and sober for as long as my Higher Power sees fit until he decides to take me home.”
“I started drinking alcohol at the age of 8, smoking age 9 and crack and cocaine and heroin at age 11. I started to use intravenous drugs at age 17. I overdosed on May 19, 2019, which led me to recovery. I took the first step by choosing Chrysalis House for dual care.”
“My addiction started at 5-years old from snorting Adderall to Meth. My life has continued to be unmanageable.”
(right) Sarah K., The Day Seattle Died - Portrait of Layne Staley, NFS, Graphite on Paper, (middle) Sarah K., One More Glass, Oil on Canvas, NFS, (right) anonymous, Untitled, Photography
(right) (left) Deontray N., No Way Out, Acrylic on Canvas, (middle) Wes B., Abstract Paper Plate, Rapidograph, (right) Colin L., Abstractions #5, Gouache, $95
(left) Wes B., Recovery Hangup, Rapidograph, (right) Wes B., Phsycho-Delic Woman, Rapidograph
Testimonials of Artists
“I am the child of 2 addicts and were raised by my grandparents, who every day I had to fight. I was the scapegoat child who isolated because I also had major depression and anxiety so I didn’t talk to a lot of people about it. I also lived in a hush-hush house so I was raped by my brothers from age 4 to 13 until I got my voice.”
“I grew up in a home with me getting raped at 8 to 14. I grew up with my grandmother until I was 14. Then I was in and out of group homes/foster homes and started using at age 9 with weed and alcohol. But eventually went to other drugs. I went to Job corps. I have 2 kids a boy and a girl. I am in treatment.”
(left) Matthew P., The Lonely Girl Reflecting in Her Secret Place, Graphite on Paper, (middle) The Patriarch and the Fool Persevering the Storm, from Shakespeare's King Lear, (right) The Subtle Knife of Addiction, Graphite on Paper
(left) Micahel, B., Peaceful After the Storm, Painting, (right) Matthew P., In the Alpine Garden of Serenity, Watercolor Pencils
(left) Matthew P., The New Life, La Vita Nuovo, A Spiritual Love, Watercolor Pencil on Cold-pressed Paper, (right) Anonymous, Reflections on a Lily, $50, Photography
Gilda I., Savior, Cross-Stitch, (middle) Matthew P., Avarice and Remorse, Graphite on paper (right) Anonymous, Fog on the Rails, $50, Photography
Testimonials of Artists
“I have been in recovery for 3 months now and continue to work every day at it.”
“The more I use the bigger the hole got, but I used to stop the hurt and pain and just couldn’t stop I was running from everything but I couldn’t see the hole I was making in my soul but when I found NA It was the light that I needed to light the dark.”
“Drugs became a part of my life when I was going through a deep depression. Drugs always showed up for me but in the long run, it has caused me to suffer. I have entered treatment and have found a new way of life.”
(left) Leah L., Moving Parts, Mixed Media, (right) Leah L., Waterfall, Mixed Media
(left) Marcus Youth and Family Center Collaboration, Tree of Life #2, Fiber Art, (middle) Jennifer W., New Day to be Sober, Painting, (right) Chelsea C., Carry the Message, Painting
(left) Anonymous, Addiction, Graphite on Paper, New Life Addiction Treatment Center, (right) Anonymous, Yellowstone River, $50, Photography
(left) Alex B., Destitution, Photography (middle) B., My Son, My Son, Print, (right) Colin L., Untitled 4, Ink on Paper
(left) Christina N., And Then There Was Light, Painting, (right) Anonymous, Sunrise Over Rehobeth, $50, Photography
(left) Colin L,. Cars and Collisions, Gouache, (middle) Aloysius M., Two of Swords, Print, (right) Wes B., Effective Prayer, Rapidograph
(left) Colin L., Untitled, Cars, Gouache, (middle) Anonymous, Blue Water of Yellowstone, $50, Photography, (right) Colin L., Untitled 3, Stairs, Gouache
(left) Lindsey J., Surrounding Hope, Acrylic on Canvas, (right) Chris H., A Rose Grows in Concrete
(left) Wes B., One Day at Four Corners, Radiograph, (right) Wes B., Bioluminescent Entity, Rapidograph
INTERVIEW: Emily Kohlenstein Interviews guest Curator Dania Blair
EK: Tell us a little bit about your own personal background -
DB: Dania Blair Schuh Special Project Care Coordinator Anne Arundel Mental Health Agency.
EK:What is your history to art and how it relates to the topic of recovery in its many forms?
DB: As with many other families, my family has been touched by mental illness and substance use disorder. Through my work as a past board chair of the Maryland State Arts Council and as a board member of the Arts Council of Anne Arundel County, the Arts Alliance Steering committee of St. Mary's College, and the Southern Maryland Heritage Area Consortium, I learned first-hand about the healing power of arts.
EK:How did you become involved with Recovery Anne Arundel? Can you explain what the organization is?
DB: As part of my work with the Mental Health Agency, I work closely with a crisis-stabilization and safe house operated by Serenity Sistas. Serenity Sistas coordinates its efforts closely with Recovery Anne Arundel. Recovery Anne Arundel is the County's Recovery Oriented System of Care, or ROSC, which promotes personal recovery for all and supports multiple pathways to recovery through advocacy and special events.
EK:What is it about art that can be therapeutic for individuals or families affected by addiction, homelessness, and other mental or behavioral disorders?
DB: Those who are suffering from mental health and substance use issues can benefit immensely from art therapy. Art therapy provides a sense of control, encourages self-expression, enhances coping skills, reduces stress, and boosts self-confidence. The creation of a work of art is also a means of working out complex and difficult emotions.
EK:How did you come up with the idea to curate an exhibit for local artists living in recovery? How did you come across Maryland Hall as a possible venue?
DB: The Art of Recovery exhibit was the brainchild of Catherine Gray and Adrienne Mickler of the Mental Health Agency of Anne Arundel County. Catherine and Adrienne asked me to take on this special project because of my love of the Arts and my passion for helping those suffering from behavioral health issues.
EK:If there is one thing you would communicate to viewers about individuals living in recovery or using art as a form of therapy, what would it be?
DB: Mental health challenges and substance use disorders are conditions and diseases of despair and loneliness. The most important thing I can communicate those who are suffering is that there is hope, there is help, and there is recovery. Find a way to engage through whatever means possible to connect yourself to those who want to help. Maybe that means is art.
EK:How can people support Recovery Anne Arundel or other local safe houses?
DB: The local delivery system for mental health and substance use disorder services here in Anne Arundel County includes many, worthy, nonprofit organizations staffed by incredibly dedicated people who are doing everything they can to help people who are suffering. Many of these organizations are desperately short of financial resources. Among those organizations is Recovery Anne Arundel, which is currently raising funds to develop a Recovery Community Center. They can be reached at www.serenitysistas.org
Donate now. Angel Traynor RCP, Executive Director and founder of Serenity Sistas.
*Special thanks to Angel Traynor, founder of Serenity Sistas, Corinna Woodard of Arundel Lodge, Barbara Robertson of Chrysalis House, and participating artist Sarah Kampsen.*