The mask project at Painted Brain is geared towards the destigmatization of mental illness. We hope to achieve this by putting a face to mental illness. Contributors at Painted Brain are making masks and then taking them off and talking about what it’s like to live with mental illness. Some contributors have made videos when they are speaking out about their particular experiences and we hope that members from the public who are unable to come to Painted Brain community center will create their own masks and submit videos as well.
Expression through art is what Painted Brain is all about. We do not have art therapy but rather various art groups where we encourage people to participate at their own comfort level. This creates a relaxed environment for people to express themselves and be who they are. Additionally, there is the opportunity to expand your creative network, learn new artistic skills, collaborate on projects together, gain inspiration and make new friends.
We’ve been in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Koreatown for over 6 years now and our Korean neighboring residents, staff, interns, and volunteers have played a huge role in shaping and influencing the organization. Painted Brain partnered up with USC’s Masters of Occupational Therapy (OT) program in 2013 to develop and discuss the effects and practice of OT through our art workshops, case studies, vocational programs, and our peer-run organization model.
Our strong relationship with USC recently opened the door to Korea. On February 8th, the USC OT program brought 15 OT students from several South Korean universities to our community center to learn from Painted Brain’s program models and practices as a new way to work with mental health populations. It was an amazing opportunity for everyone in the room to learn about how mental health services are facilitated in each country, and a fun chance to make art with some new friends.
We hope to go to Korea in the near future to continue our relationship and spread community-centered mental health concepts overseas!