The “Culture: We Are Intertwined” virtual catalog and musical soundtrack feature the work of participants in the nation’s oldest and largest creative arts therapy program.
New York, NY
NYC Health + Hospitals/Correctional Health Services (CHS) today announced the release of “Culture: We Are Intertwined,” a multimedia presentation featuring the artistic stories of participants in CHS’s Creative Arts Therapy program, the oldest and most important art therapy in prison. program in the country. This year catalog and soundtrack feature over 80 individual and collaborative pieces – including visual arts, poetry, drama and music – created throughout the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 70 patients worked with the CHS’s certified art therapists to express their thoughts and feelings about culture and identity, using a variety of artistic mediums. The 2021 release marks the seventh annual Creative Arts Therapy Expo, which went virtual in 2020 due to the pandemic.
“The Creative Arts Therapy program is a vital part of the CHS mental health service, and I congratulate and thank the therapists and artists who made the 2021 Creative Arts Therapy show possible.” said Senior Vice President of NYC Health + Hospitals/Correctional Health Services Patsy Yang, DrPH. “It is clear from the artistic pieces created – from the masks and baskets to the music and poetry – that the program served as an important therapeutic and creative outlet for patients during a difficult year.”
The Registered Creative Arts Therapists who lead the CHS Creative Arts Therapy Program work with other members of the CHS Mental Health Service to facilitate voluntary individual and group arts therapy sessions and to provide care and treatment planning for program participants.
“It’s a privilege to work on this team, with these patients, and witness their freedom of expression as they heal through the creative arts,” said Barbara B., LCAT, CHS Drama Therapist. “Given the impact of COVID, the provision of creative arts therapy services is more critical than ever.”
Throughout the 2021 sessions, CHS therapists encouraged patients to explore their cultures and identities through mask making, scene writing, journaling, improvisation, poetry, music and mixed media. Most of the artists created individual pieces, but program participants also collaborated to create colorful collages, songs about relationships and loss, and a basket decorated with woven fabric.
“My experience writing a song for the art show was helpful because it allowed me to tap into my creative side to find an instrument and put words to it,” said artist Andrew R ., whose stage name is Drew Streetz. “It made me reflect on my life. It was a stress reliever to have things bottled up inside. Being creative brought things out in a different way.
The “Culture: We Are Intertwined” catalog and soundtrack are featured on the CHS website.
Images of select artwork from this year’s exhibition are available upon request by emailing [email protected]