With the support of the Pittsfield Cultural Council, the Arts in Recovery for Women program helped 53
women in our community in early recovery from addictions, loss and
trauma through the language of expressive art. We met for 10 weeks this
season, made a variety of artworks and shared meaningful peer support
and resources for recovery from an all paths to recovery perspective,
without exclusion. Women from the Women's Keenan House as well as others
in the community gained access to the arts that they would not have had
otherwise. They reported that the art-making gave them a new way to
find tools to stay sober and strengthen their life skills. We made art
on a range of topics such as mindfulness, nature, walking through fear
and managing unwanted thoughts.
Our program is promoted on Facebook and by word of mouth and continues to grow in the community. We are currently exploring collaborative partnership with local treatment facilities and community organizations, where art can continue to serve the important mission of helping women, one at a time, reduce the public health crisis of addiction.
Thank you for your support. Together we make a difference every day in the lives of our community members through the power of art.
Thanks to both the Pittsfield Cultural Council and Lenox Cltural
Council and the support of George B. Crane Memorial Center, Arts in
Recovery was made possible in 2016. We were able to offer an arts-based
peer support program at no cost to 21 women and their families in our
community. Together we increased support and resources, engaged in
therapeutic art-making and built a greater sense of well-being and
Some of our women remarked that with the use of art materials, they were able to slow down and focus on themselves for the first time in their sobriety. Others commented that the use of art materials was soothing, relaxing, and empowering. Still others found that through art-making, they were able to share aspects of themselves with other women, that were otherwise hidden or neglected.
I am both grateful and honored to have been able to serve these women and families and to have been the recipient of Massachusetts Cultural Council grants. It is our goal to resume this program in January 2018.
From October 2016 - March 2017, with the help of Pittsfield Cultural Council, Lenox Cultural Council, and George B. Crane Memorial Center, Arts in Recovery served twenty one women and their families, as a pilot program designed to address the addictions crisis in Berkshire County. Building a bridge between the arts and recovery, our program provided a safe, creative and therapeutic means of support for addiction, loss and trauma among women and their families. Using a studio approach to art therapy guided by a trauma-informed art therapist with lived experience, this program:
Rationale and Public Benefit
The use of art therapy in the treatment of substance abuse dates back to the 1950s. Over the decades, art therapy has been shown to help manage addictions in numerous ways. These include decreasing denial, reducing opposition to alcoholism treatment, breaking down resistance and facilitating acceptance of the disease; providing an outlet for communication; lessening shame; facilitating the exploration of emotions, enhancing internal motivation for change and moving away from reflection and into a state of action.
We are living in a time where substance abuse is a growing epidemic affecting communities and society as a whole. Many treatment centers do not have the funding for an arts therapy program and its clients are unable to benefit from this adjunctive form of treatment. Women and families, in particular, find self-expression and connection with others through art-making.
The Berkshires is known for being a place enriched with the arts. Bridging a connection between the arts and recovery helps reduce the substance abuse epidemic, raise awareness and decrease stigma, and offer a path to productive community membership.
Pittsfield is forward looking in its inclusion of an all paths peer-to-peer model of recovery. Several successful peer recovery centers are now operating in the state of Massachusetts funded in part by its community organizations. These programs are guided by efficacy-based principles through agencies such as the Western Massachusetts Training Consortium, Department of Mental Health and the Department of Public Health's Bureau of Substance Abuse Services.
I would also like to thank George B. Crane Memorial Center for providing a safe peer space for our participants. Finally, thank you, Mary McGuiness for your vision, support and commitment to the arts and recovery in Pittsfield and beyond.
For more information about GBCMC, visit: http://www.thegbcmc.org/