14th Annual Healing Art Show

Each year, NAMI Wisconsin hosts the Healing Art Show as part of Mental Illness Awareness Week in October. The show features the works of local artists who experience mental illness and creatively express themselves through various mediums of art. The purpose of  the Healing Art Show is to break down stigma surrounding mental illness. By showcasing the artistic works created by people with mental illness, we highlight the creative talents and personal strengths that far overshadow any mental illness.

We encourage everyone who feels comfortable to visit the Lakeside St Coffee House during their regular business hours during the month of October to view the Healing Art Show.

Blog Post: How can art be used for healing and recovery?
Author: Janine Bussa, Art Therapist

This seemingly simple question is actually a complicated one for a professional art therapist, who is also an artist, who also has dealt with depression and anxiety for the majority of her life to answer! I can look at this from all three perspectives.

In my opinion, art can be used in a number of ways to aid in the healing and recovery process. In large part, it depends on the consumer, in terms of goals for their personal path to recovery and healing; and also in how they hope art (or any of the other creative therapies) will act as one of the tools in their tool box.  What I mean is: does the consumer want art to be an adjunct part of their process in addition to traditional talk therapy or group therapy; or do they intend to see a professional art therapist and have that be their primary structure for recovery.

Art can be a very expressive language. Without using any words, it is able to tell a story, manifest an idea or make emotions visible by using colors and symbols. A consumer can find art beneficial in the privacy of his or her own home. It allows people to get into a state of flow, much like meditation, in that it can calm the body and act as a powerful mindfulness tool. When this happens, time passes quickly; you can take a “break” from your own mind and just be present with your work. I have experienced this when I paint: all of the sudden hours have passed and I have not eaten, used the restroom or answered my phone. I was in the state of flow. For someone with severe anxiety, it helps my racing thoughts slow to a trickle. In this sense, art is a very useful tool for me.

Consumers also have the option of seeing a professional art therapist, who can help them learn the benefits of art while also working on mental health, marriage or family issues. Art therapists have at least a master’s level degree in art therapy in addition to being mental health professionals. In fact, the term “art therapy” can only be used to describe services provided by a registered art therapist. Different art materials or art directives can be a detriment to treatment if provided improperly, and issues that arise through the power of art-making. Therefore, having a professional art therapist on your journey of healing is very important.

Whether using art therapy or using art as a therapeutic tool, it is powerful and expressive. I tell the patients I work with that showing me their artwork is as personal as letting me read a page from their diary. When used properly, it can be a dynamic tool for people on a path to better all-around health.

Janine Bussa is a board-certified registered art therapist and licensed professional counselor. She works for the state of Wisconsin at Mendota Mental Health Institute and is a doctoral candidate at Mount Mary University in Milwaukee.


Exhibition Generously Hosted By

Thank you to Lakeside St. Coffee House!

We are excited to be partnering with Lakeside St. Coffee House for this year’s 14th Annual Healing Art Show! This beautiful coffee house includes great coffee, food, and a view overlooking Monona Bay!

Lakeside St. Coffee House
402 W. Lakeside Street
Madison, Wisconsin 53715

For more information about Lakeside St. Coffee House, please click here.