HUDSON — Peg's Foundation will be part of the healing, hosting a cathartic new art exhibition that showcases the creations of those recovering from mental illness.
Executive Director Helen Walkerly of the National Alliance on Mental Health in Wayne and Holmes counties said the art program at the Wooster-based Motivating Optimistic Caring Accepting House allows people to paint, sculpt and create. These creations — and the healing they promote — will be on display at Peg’s Gallery, 10 West Streetsboro Street in Hudson, through Oct. 30.
"It helps them in their recovery from mental illness," Walkerly said. "They go into the art room and say they can't do anything but find the gifts they didn't know they had. It's such a healing process."
MOCA House is dedicated to reducing the isolation of people with mental illness through peer support, educational services, social and recreational activities, advocacy and community involvement. Its credo is "art is a great avenue to understand yourself and to understand others, to find love, to find comfort and to overcome some of the challenges all of us especially with some level of addiction or mental illness."
"This is about ‘I'm on a road to recovery’ and not only are you on it, but we're on it with you," said Rick Keller, president of Peg's Foundation. "You're not alone."
Stephanie Weikinger of Wooster created jewelry with wire and glass beads that’s now on display at the gallery.
"I put things together," Weikinger said. "I always wanted to create jewelry but didn't have the time."
Jen Hill of Orrville created a diamond painting with cross-stitch and paint by numbers. The plastic pieces are shaped like diamonds and give the artwork sparkle, and the work itself represents the four seasons of life. Weikinger wrote a poem about how the seasons correlate to emotions.
"In the summer we grow, in the fall we get depressed like falling leaves, in the winter we're isolated and in the spring we flourish," she said. "This poem is about MOCA House. It's how we represent strength and stand together and not fall behind. We encourage each other."
Judy Geiser of Orrville works in colored pencils and watercolors at the MOCA House.
"Nineteen years ago I was diagnosed, and I invested in color pencils and started drawing," Geiser said.
"I love art. You can get lost in it," she said. "Time flies."
Geiser offered a poem for wellness class.
"My dream is to write a book someday," Geiser said. "It's about my journey through mental illness and the transformation of the heart."
She already has a title in mind, "A Journey Through the Mind of Schizophrenia."
Ryan Finney of Orrville created the artistic eagle and wrote the poem in the entrance at Peg’s Gallery.
"In humility we acknowledge that we are flawed and incomplete so we band together in our brokenness to soar in unity and strength," the poem reads.
Finney said he found he could paint, creating a piece with a poem written in the pantoum style, with repetitive lines that loop back on themselves.
"It visually loops back on itself," Finney said. "That's what depression is like — the same thoughts over and over again."
Heather Howley of Orrville offered a poem about transliminality — or the spaces between spaces — such as New Year's Day between one year and the next.
"Anything is possible in those brief transitional moments between the past and future," Howley said.
MOCA House is funded in part through grants from Mental Health & Recovery Board of Wayne & Holmes Counties, Peg’s Foundation, Noble Foundation, Orrville Area United Way, United Way of Wayne & Holmes Counties, and private donations.
Peg’s Gallery is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. For information, go to pegsfoundation.org.
Reporter Laura Freeman can be reached at 330-541-9434 or firstname.lastname@example.org