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Ponshop hosts 'Art of Recovery' exhibit, showcasing works by artists with mental illness
Tracy Ringquist of Spotsylvania County created 'Climbing the Ladder to Recovery,' detailing her personal struggles with mental health and her climb to reach her goals and aspirations. Last year, she contributed a handmade quilt.
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Date published: 5/3/2012
FOR THE FREE LANCE-STAR
The Rappahannock Area Community Services Board is giving the term "art therapy" a new meaning.
In conjunction with National Mental Health Month, RACSB will present the eighth annual "The Art of Recovery" starting Friday. Ponshop Studio and Gallery will host the exhibit for the second year.
In collaboration with Ponshop, the Kenmore Club, a psychosocial rehabilitation program under RACSB, organized the show.
Michelle Wagaman, RACSB's public information officer, said the board advertised the show to community services with a focus on mental health.
"Art therapy is a common tool," she said. "A lot of people use art expression as part of their personal recovery."
According to Wagaman, 70 Virginia artists submitted 170 pieces to the "Art of Recovery." Last year there were 120 submissions.
"It seems to be getting bigger and bigger," Wagaman said.
The jury of five artists and mental health advocates selected 60 drawings, paintings, sculptures, textiles and mixed media works for the exhibit. All artwork was submitted by adults with mental illnesses or mental-health concerns, and selected pieces will be available for sale.
"The show can really educate the public on mental health," Wagaman said. "It celebrates some amazing talent. It's a really strong exhibit. The time these individuals devote to the work is just amazing."
Following the positive experience with Ponshop last year, Wagaman said RACSB asked the gallery to host the show again this year.
"I can't say enough positive things about the Ponshop gallery owners," she said. "They are so involved in the planning of the event and are very supportive the cause."
Gabriel Pons, one of Ponshop's owners and show juror, said his gallery is honored to host the event.
"This is one show that we do that is really an effort to open our doors to the community, particularly to people through RASCB," he said. "We feel that it is our responsibility to raise awareness to mental health as well as to reinforce the fact that an art gallery is simply not just meant for the elitist crowd.
"We're really happy to give these artists some well-deserved publicity."
The exhibit opens with a reception at Ponshop tomorrow, corresponding with First Friday. Ponshop will remain the exhibit's home for May. However, the event is more than a local Fredericksburg showing.
In June, through the coordination of the Henrico Area Mental Health and Developmental Services Board, a smaller traveling exhibit will be on display at the Walkerton Tavern in Glen Allen.
"It's really a state effort," Wagaman said. "Artists across the state submitted work, and this traveling exhibit helps to reflect that."
Frances Womble is a student at
What: "The Art of Recovery" exhibit Where: Ponshop Studio and Gallery, 712 Caroline St. When: Through May 27. Reception, 5-9 p.m. Friday, May 4. Info: 540/656-2215; ponshopstudio.com, racsb.state.va.us