The 14th annual Art for Awareness event was held March 20, following Behavioral Health Day on the Hill.
Sponsored by TDMHSAS, Healing Arts Project, Inc. (HAPI), BlueCare, and United Healthcare, Art for Awareness is a highly-anticipated event that brings together Tennesseans in recovery from mental illness and substance use disorder who participate in the arts to help manage challenges, inspire, and empower themselves and others. That was certainly the case again at this year's event.
In the spirit of the theme, "Let Art Move You," organizers coordinated several different activities that encouraged activity and artistry. Lynece Benton-Stewart, HAPI's new Executive Director, welcomed the artists and explained that their gift bags were also fabric canvases.
Participants created artwork on their bags throughout the event; some shared what they had created with the group. Several participants also took the opportunity to explain what art means to them and to their recovery as did a guest panel consisting of Certified Peer Recovery Specialists Christine James and Rosie Morton, Peer Educator and HAPI artist Eric Brito, and HAPI instructor Kay Kennedy.
Gov. Bill Lee delighted the crowd when he stopped by, chatted with some of the artists, and posed for a group picture. The event ended with a dance activity led by the Statewide Peer Wellness Coaches.
More than 60 pieces of artwork were registered and on display. Some of the submitted pieces were purchased by attendees, and several will be displayed in legislator's offices until the end of the session. We are already looking forward to next year's event, our 15th annual! We encourage you to keep creating and sharing your artwork! Watch the Nashville news coverage of Art for Awareness: https://www.newschannel5.com/news/nashville-organization-uses-art-to-promote-healing