The Art Cart: Journey of Art and Mental Health Continues

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The Art Carts third outing receives a warm welcome. The team continues to build relationships in the MacArthur Park community and today individuals were ecstatic to see us! When we rolled up we had a group of about three to four people that immediately came over to us. There were new and familiar faces, who were really excited to engage in art. It was another very successful day and we had the pleasure of seeing familiar faces this week, who we were able to refer to the NEW Painted Brain community center. This got people excited about continuing to do art.

One patron enjoyed drawing portraits and was an extremely talented artist. He was very excited about visiting the new space next week on Monday or Wednesday. It was fantastic to be welcomed back into the community of MacArthur Park and know there is interest in this new project. Hopefully…

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Occupational Therapy’s Unique Value in Mental Health

Creative Occupational Therapy

          As Painted Brain’s initial occupational therapy doctoral resident, my task is to develop an occupational therapy service line that coincides with Painted Brain’s mission to provide opportunities for socialization and community integration to adults with mental illness. An initial step in this endeavor involves developing a deep understanding of why occupational therapy is perfectly suited for this work, and why a community-based organization, such as Painted Brain, is perfectly situated to offer this type of service.

Occupational therapy is a holistic health service that is integral to the recovery process, due to expertise in the areas of occupational engagement and participation, activity analysis, group dynamics, neurophysiology, environmental evaluation and adaptation, and psychosocial skill development. The term ‘occupation’ refers to a variety of activities that humans engage in on a daily basis, and these activities fall into categories such as “self-care”, “leisure”, “work or productivity”…

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Music and Mental Health: Guess Who

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The phrase “mental health” does not always need to have a negative connotation. Often a brain that functions differently can lead to beautiful and wonderful things, especially within the artistic realm. One area where this can be apparent is in the creation of music. Some of the greatest musical geniuses faced some serious mental health issues. We admire their work, continuing into even hundreds of years later, and this work inspires others to create more amazing things. One such composer even gained the admiration and respect of the likes of Mozart and Beethoven, with Mozart expanding on one of his pieces, and Beethoven hailing him as “the greatest composer that ever lived.” Born in Germany in 1685, this composer spent most of his days living in London, actually becoming a naturalized British subject in 1727. He loved writing Italian operas, but he also wrote English oratorios; his greatest…

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Rolling Solo: The Art Cart and Mental Illness

On October 6th 2017 The Art Cart embarked on its second trip to MacArthur Park and this time around we were rolling solo.  The other organization that bring services to the Park were not present this week, but the Art Cart team decided to forge ahead on their own. We are continuing   to do community outreach within MacArthur Park.IMG_4129[1]

 

We began the day by assembling more hygiene kits, with these fresh provisions, the team was ready to tackle doing some outreach on our own. I myself have never done direct outreach before and was rather nervous about the experience, but we made quite a few meaningful connections with individuals. Community outreach can be challenging due to the need to break down barriers and create meaningful connections quickly. The first step for me was to begin with a simply hello and how are you doing. This initiated conversation and I began explaining that we were there to bring hygiene kits, food and art to the community. Two individuals specifically that we meet really enjoyed contributing to the art mural.

The first individual, who really enjoyed drawing, drew for about fifteen minutes and produced a wonderful picture depicting an outdoor scene with beautiful trees. As an Occupational Therapist it was really wonderful to be able to allow this individual to participate in an enjoyable activity again that they hadn’t done in a while. It was amazing to see how Painted Brains mission of  bring art to the community could bring healing. To be able to be a part of this mission as an Occupational Therapist is wonderful.

The second individual that really enjoyed doing art also enjoyed sharing their share their story. I have found that often at first people are very hesitant or guarded, but once they begin to talk and engage with us the community building begins. We work hard to listen to people and let them share as they need. It is amazing how just listening can help reinvigorate people and bring them joy. Often many people are isolated and just need someone to listen, allowing them to share their experiences.

For the next part of the day we decided to wheel the cart around the pond in MacArthur Park and become a more visible feature in the park. One individual we engaged with found the idea of a mobile art station to be such an amazing concept. This individual was really excited to see that a positive outlet was being provided to the community in a mobile format.

The Art Cart has been my first experience with outreach work and I have found it to be a good way to test my comfort zone. One individual we talked with discussed the concept of being comfortable with being uncomfortable, because this is where we grow and change. The world is constantly changing, so we need to be ready to adapt and try new things to grow as individuals. This was the teachable moment of the day that I will take with me into my next week.

Mariah Morris is a 1st year USC Occupational Therapy Intern at the Painted Brain.

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On October 6th 2017 The Art Cart embarked on its second trip to MacArthur Park and this time around we were rolling solo.  The other organization that bring services to the Park were not present this week, but the Art Cart team decided to forge ahead on their own. We are continuing   to do community outreach within MacArthur Park.IMG_4129[1]

We began the day by assembling more hygiene kits, with these fresh provisions, the team was ready to tackle doing some outreach on our own. I myself have never done direct outreach before and was rather nervous about the experience, but we made quite a few meaningful connections with individuals. Community outreach can be challenging due to the need to break down barriers and create meaningful connections quickly. The first step for me was to begin with a simply hello and how are you doing. This initiated conversation and I began…

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Painted Brain Gets Pinterest-y!

On February 15, 2017, Painted Brain held a workshop at our headquarters. Led by one of our interns from Project Return Peer Support Network (PRPSN), participants were led through the process of setting up a Pinterest account, posting articles, videos, fave photos, and more. Many participants were new to Pinterest. By the end of the workshop, everyone had a Pinterest account set up, and has already created a few boards and posted a few articles videos and photos from Google Images, Flickr, and such.

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The Pinterest workshop is the first in a series of social media marketing workshops to be held as an umbrella of the Painted Brain Academy project. We have in the past provided workshops in:

Peer Leader Training,

Public Speaking,

Photojournalism,

Journalistic writing,

and Social Media.

We’re working on turning it into a year-round program.

 

What the caterpillar calls the end of the world…

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What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls the butterfly is a quote from Richard Bach’s wonderful book called Illusions. There are a number of quotes from this book that I use everyday to reorder my thinking positively.  This one speaks to paradigm shifting and perspective.

It’s really brilliant.  It uses something we all understand – metamorphosis – to focus us on a different perspective of endings and beginnings.  For the caterpillar it is the end of life – for the butterfly it is the beginning of life but for that entity it is a change in how life is experienced.

The Death and Tower cards in the Tarot – a form of divination  – are often interpreted in this fashion that an ending is also a beginning.  The death card can be interpreted as an end that leads to a NEW beginning.  The tower…

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WordCraft Workshop celebrates 1yr Anniversary!

Check out the latest featured poems!

To see our full poetry gallery visit here.

The Enigma Within the Enigma

by Sandy Weisberg 

Is this really me and not a dream –

As my rabbi tried to explain
that this reality is the dream

and that reality with God

is not a dream, but just
the mystery engulfed within
the mystery we call life,

liberty and the pursuit of happiness –

The soft velvet touch of a baby’s cheek,

the cry of a lobster boiling

in a pot of bubbly water,

a woman’s stretching sigh.