Becoming Independent: The Art Program
Four-Cornered Triangle: Artists with the Wellness and Advocacy Center
NAMI: Sonoma County Artists
June 15 - September 15
These three exhibitions feature artists working in Sonoma County today.
Since 1980, Becoming Independent (BI) hasgrown to become the largest service provider of its kind in the North Bay area, offering a broad variety of vocational, instructional and support services for those with developmental disabilities. By the early 1990s, ArtWorks was included in the programming as a vibrant program highlighting the intuitive and interpretative artists. Various locations throughout the community became the showplaces for exhibiting art until an on-site gallery opened in 2004.As the art program grew and exhibits were increasing, BI was offered exhibit space which became The Gallery of Sea and Heaven located in downtown Santa Rosa's SOFA (South of A) arts district. Since 2007, the artists have had a presence in the neighborhood and the building which houses 7 professional artists' studios. This opportunity literally fulfills the BI mission to promote community inclusion and participation for people with developmental disabilities.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) originated in the 1970's. As psychiatric hospitals were closing, groups of community activists began meeting, all over the United States to advocate for community services to facilitate that transition. NAMI members continue their advocacy for funding, programs and respect for this vulnerable population and one of 1100 grass-roots affiliates of the National NAMI. Thier mission is to work for a fair, just and sustainable world for people living with mental health issues. Through education, support and advocacy, members work to promote social inclusion and understanding working with elected officials and schools to advocate for opportunities and equality. The art program at NAMI is open to the public, and provides an art program in a local prison. NAMI's belief is that with great challenges come great gifts. Minds that work differently than the mainstream produce the most creative artists and cultural 'creatives'.
The Wellness and Advocacy Center in Santa Rosa is a self-help, drop-in center for people with mental health challenges in Sonoma County. The Center is peer-operated and designed to create a comfortable atmosphere based on the principles of recovery and resilience. In addition to their art program, the Center has organic gardens, career and computer lab, support groups and peer-counseling. The Center creates a unique, successful program for the artists by the artist, aiming to provide support for each creative individual's needs with a limited amount of funding.