Brooklyn Museum

one of the artists in front of his exhibited work alongside ICL CEO David Woodlock.

Nurturing artistic exploration as an integral part of the journey to wellness and recovery

 Show runs at the Brooklyn Museum through July 22

New York, N.Y.— This month, Brooklyn Museum will be hosting the works of New York City-based artists in a show entitled, “Sacred Self”, featuring interpretive self-portraits on paper.

The artists are people who participate in programs of the Institute for Community Living (ICL), a New York-based agency that serves 10,000 adults, children and families in transitional housing, counseling, and other support services. This collaboration between Brooklyn Museum and ICL is now in its 18th year. Each year, artists who are living with mental illness and developmental disabilities take great pride in being part of this exhibition in the Museum’s education gallery and to have the chance to talk about their work.

At ICL, making art and nurturing artistic exploration are important parts of the work to help individuals on their journey to recovery and greater health and well-being.  Art programs at ICL give clients a visual vocabulary and find expression that empowers them to get in touch with their own life journey. Two programs are featured in the exhibit but art is a critical element of many of the agency’s 100 + programs throughout the city.

ICL CEO David Woodlock believes art offers critically important tools for growth and healing for people living with great challenges. “It is extraordinary how the making of art as a form of self-expression empowers people to get in touch with their therapeutic journey and become stronger advocates for themselves. ICL art programs provide a safe space where clients build a feeling of community, are inspired by others and strengthen friendships. These are incredibly important steps on their road to greater health.”

“Art is a natural extension of the human condition and is one of the tools we have to make sense of our shared existence,” said Dylan Stanfield, a teaching artist at ICL. “Creating art is inherently therapeutic – when we make something our own, we feel purpose and meaning, and it can help us define who we are. This show is the culmination of our visits to the Brooklyn Museum this past year and the works inspired by our visits are showcased here with pride. ICL is grateful to the Museum for welcoming us and allowing our artists to display their works in one of New York City’s great museums.”

The show, Sacred Self, is an exploration of the self as a way to meditate on the artist as subject matter in relation to the world that they live in. For this show, artists have used a black and white photo of themselves for either inspiration, or as a model to work from, and created interpretations of themselves using charcoal and watercolor. The artists were inspired by their trips to the Museum, particularly to the exhibit Ahmed Mater: Mecca Journeys that led to inclusion of the theme of sacred spaces.

For more information about ICL programs and the therapeutic art program, contact Mindy Liss at