Visitors perused artwork created by clients and staff May 21 during a special art show at the Rosecrance Berry Campus.
The “Our Words Matter” show was held in conjunction with Children’s Mental Health Awareness Month activities. Both Rosecrance and the Winnebago County Medical Society Alliance sponsored the event.
Some of the drawings and paintings were created during group and individual therapy sessions at Berry, and others were done by clients on their own time. The work represented a range of age groups, from 4-to-5-year-olds to students in high school.
Berry hosted a similar art show a few years ago, but this show was much larger and it was open to the public. The Medical Society Alliance is reaching out to local hospitals to possibly host some of the artwork at their facilities.
Art therapy is an important part of Berry’s programming and often provides a more comfortable setting for children to open up about and share their feelings and emotions, said Steve Smith, director of the Rosecrance Berry Campus and Aspen Counseling & Consulting.
“It’s a great way to express yourself if you can’t talk about how you feel,” Smith said.
The show also featured an interactive component, where visitors could paint words and expressions on colorful rocks, some of which will be placed in the Berry Campus garden. Staff doubled the size of the garden this year, as gardening is another helpful therapy tool.
Rachel Baranski, an associate mental health clinician at Berry and an art therapist, said art can be used to help children, their siblings and parents communicate better. She said trauma or any other difficult experiences can often be discussed more openly using art therapy.
Baranski said it’s important to assess how art therapy can be used for each individual client and then determine how to integrate it going forward as part of treatment and the recovery process.
Other Berry Campus events this month include:
Thursday (May 28): Family Café, 5:30-6:30 p.m.; features a panel discussion about children’s mental health trends. Free and open to the public.
Friday (May 29): 1-2-3 Magic Program, geared toward children’s caregivers who may have a tough time managing children’s behaviors; 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.; $30 cost.