The art of healing

Expression through art is a good way to symbolize healing.

Lakeside Clinic will unveil its first art exhibition, titled “Inside Out 2014,” on Thursday from 4 to 8 p.m. at 355 Central Ave. in Fredonia. The event is free and open to the public.

Coordinator and Manager Colleen Lewis wanted people to have the opportunity to express themselves in a non-competitive environment.

“Art takes emotion that is really hard to get out any other way, and helps to make people feel more complete,” she said. “We have art that appeals to all the senses; we have art you can see, edible art you can taste, fabric art you can touch, peppermint plates you can smell and music you can hear.”

All the art was created by staff, family, friends, and clients of the mental health clinic.

Each work of art represents the artist and how they perceive the world around them.

“We have a lot of really talented people; more than 40 people participated,” Lewis said.

Lewis is around people all day who may feel a little lost. She believes when they can see there is a safe place inside of them, they can identify what makes them feel the way they feel.

“Once they see their safe place is inside their heart they can go there whenever they want, but they can also go into the dark places and identify what it is and how to heal,” she said.

Lewis is retiring at the end of this year, but hopes the art legacy will go on.

Artist Ashley Newmeister painted music records of her favorite horror films with some crosses, fairies and puppies, throwing in some light amongst the darkness.

Artist Gert Shore makes quilts. She has almost an entire room dedicated to her work. She will talk about each and every quilt with tender loving care and a gleam of pride in her eyes.

“I taught my seven nieces how to quilt. They come see me and we quilt all weekend,” she said. “It is just wonderful; the girls became so wonderful.”

Peterson never thought she was much of an artist until she started to draw.

“I was really surprised when I was asked to show my art; no one ever asked me before,” she said. “All art is really good, but if I was to see something that was different than any other art I have ever seen before that would be my favorite.”

Some art washes up on the shores or is waiting to be plucked out of the forest. Marianne Snyder understands how beautiful this art is.

“I always liked nature, especially the beach,” she said. “It started with pine cones. I really love pine cones.”

Lewis said everyone loves to talk to Snyder about her art.

“Nothing makes the heart warmer and smile more than to see what people have created,” she said.

Snyder’s art is really rustic and that is what she loves about it.

“I made two seashell wreaths for my daughters. I do my own landscaping too,” she said. “I designed my own yard and put in the flowers, shrubs.and trees myself.”

Glass blowers are hard to come by these days, but Deb Brent has always loved doing it. She started a business with her husband in 2000 called Block House Studio in Fredonia. People interested in glass blowing can take classes there or come and purchase her work at the gift shop.

“That is my safe place; it really calms me down,” Brent said about the giant beach collage hanging on the wall. “Alicia Morley (art therapist intern) is a good art therapist; she let me take off running.”

Morley enjoys being an art therapist because she believes it is a good way to get people to open up who haven’t been able to for a long time.

Pointing to a large dark work of art on the wall, Brent gives an emotional testimony about what it means.

“She (Morley) gave me the strength to do this one. This black part in the middle represents how I use to feel; no future … emotionless spirit. I was dead; with therapy I could identify my emotions and now they all have a name.”

Morley added Brent did a lot of work with this piece.

“The rope symbolizes tanglement of emotions,” Brent said about why the rope was pressed around the art.

“Anger can be mistaken for many different things and it is helpful to identify them. It is very helpful to do this visually,” she said.

Brent’s next task is to work on what is hidden behind the walls.

“It feels good to see where I have been,” she said. “It is amazing to see how far I have come since September. I was dark and now I have brighten up and my smile is real. I opened up the flood gates and now I am never going to stop.”

There is a belief that among all the different treatment plans art is the most effective, Morley has allowed this belief to guide her down a career path.

“I am incredibly inspired that what I do to help people actually works,” she said. “People do art for so many different reasons.”

Musician Flanders Fuenzalida traveled all over the world growing up, but his favorite place is Paris. he intended a private American School of Art in Paris as a young teen in the 1960s. He loves to play guitar and sing along to the folk or classic rock tunes. Bob Dylan and Donovan are a couple of his favorites.

“I am not hooked up to the juice like others are,” he said. “I play acoustic guitar.”

Fuenzalida has been in love with music his whole life, since his mother played the piano and his father played the violin. However, he began his love for art in poetry.

“I have been writing poems since 1971, but unfortunately lost most of them,” he said.

The women’s recovery group is also represented in the quilt room. There is a giant quilt, which Morley put together once everyone gave her their own individual pieces.

“This is a group as a whole; what it means to be together,” she said. “I asked the ladies to choose a book and create their own story with it. They were very expressive.”

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