HUDSON: The red, white and blue paint swirls together in a watercolor storm, but its form brought peace to the artist’s soul.
“If something is going in my life, I just get involved in a painting and get lost in it,” said Caitlin Turney, who uses art to escape her anxiety disorder.
From now through Jan. 15, the Art of Recovery will be on exhibit at the Margaret Clark Morgan Foundation Gallery, spotlighting the work of 23 clients of Community Support Services (CSS).
The foundation’s mission includes supporting people with severe mental illness, as well as supporting the arts — two interests of the Hudson philanthropist for whom it is named.
It wasn’t hard to find a way to bring both of those missions together, said Brenda Schneider, who organized the exhibit for the foundation.
“We believe a vibrant community depends on the arts,” she said, and those who suffer from such mental illnesses as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia have a valuable contribution to make to the field.
Many of the pieces on exhibit were created during group or individual therapy sessions at CSS, but Deborah Rice said she picked up her charcoal after hearing about the upcoming event.
The portrait of her boyfriend, which she dubbed Ruff Neck, took all of five minutes but caught the attention of the exhibit’s selection committee.
“Dad was an artist, and I inherited his genes,” Rice said with a smile.
Rice said she has taken art courses at the University of Akron and has made pieces to hang in the homes of family and friends, but she hasn’t had anything publicly displayed since a blockprint she made in third grade was selected for showing at Akron General Medical Center.
“It’s fantastic to be here. I have hidden my talent for so many years. I didn’t think it mattered,” Rice said.
In recent months, she has been motivated to spend more time on her drawings, she said, and is making plans to fill a booth at next year’s art expo at Hardesty Park.
The gallery at the foundation, located at 10 W. Streetsboro St. (state Route 303) close to Hudson’s square, features many media, including metal brushing, metal etching, crayon, oil and acrylic paints, sculpture and pencil.
A dramatic drawing titled Bipolar was created for the entrance to the show by Kevin Smalley. Also featured is a large pencil and crayon drawing by Alfred McMoore, the late Akron artist who inspired a pair of Akron musicians to name their band The Black Keys.
The rest of the art on display was by living artists, including Stanley Ambrose, who thanked CSS staff for “helping more than any other organization in Akron in my recovery.”
Attendees of Thursday night’s opening reception had the opportunity to see his montage of penciled comic book villains.
“What a joyous gathering this is for us,” Ambrose said.
Terry Dalton, CEO of Community Support Services, said he loves that the art show celebrates the “ability” of his clients rather than focusing on the illnesses.
Rick Kellar, executive director of the foundation, thanked the artists for sharing their talent.
The foundation has put on nearly a dozen exhibits since starting the gallery in the office’s lobby two years ago, Kellar said, “but this is some of the nicest art we’ve ever had there, and I mean that genuinely.”