• Hazelden Renewal Center

Let’s Just Have Fun and Make Stuff Up

improv

“Some of the funniest people I’ve ever met have been at recovery meetings.” This high praise comes from someone who is in the business of being funny. John Gebretatose, who left alcohol behind 15 years ago, performs and teaches Improv theater. He also mentors others to do the same. At HUGE Theater in Minneapolis, a popular home and incubator for Improv, Gebretatose is the director of diversity and inclusion. He is also the co-founder of an African-American Improv comedy troupe called Blackout, which has performed internationally. What is Improv theater? Improv is a lot like when you were a kid … Continue reading

The Ability to Identify as an Artist First

artability people incorporated

How People Incorporated’s Artability Program Challenges Mental Health Stigma For people living with a persistent mental illness ­— stigma, debilitating symptoms and a lack of self-esteem — can create a misconception that they are unable to choose who they want to be in life. They may feel defined by their mental illness. Daily struggles, confusing emotions and fragmented thoughts, may also make it difficult to communicate how they feel, producing this overwhelming feeling of being misunderstood. There is no choice involved in this particular experience — their mental illness choses them. The good news, however, is that it does not … Continue reading

Art Heals

art is healing

“Art is a wound turned into light.” ~ Georges Braque, 20th Century French Artist I am not surprised that healing and art are connected. I know the calm I feel as I play piano or focus on a favorite painting or indulge in a luscious piece of poetry. Art is an oasis in the hurry of my life, whether it is my art or someone else’s. Healing is soul work. Our wounds cry out for healing and light. The slow work of healing is a process of making whole, but it does not necessarily return us to what was. Nor is it … Continue reading

Basket Making 101

basket weaving

About this time last year I ventured to the North House Folk School in Grand Marais, MN, for three days of basket weaving. Yep, Basket Weaving 101. Ostensibly, the adventure was to create and take home our very own, personalized, Birch Bark Berry Basket. In reality, the trip was much more profound. None of us knew quite what to expect, having never attended any of the wide-ranging offerings at the North House Folk School. And so we all packed for three days of being together in a cabin up north, collectively making dinners, catching up on each other’s lives, and … Continue reading

The Avivo ArtWorks Collective Artists Thriving in Community

Housed in a basement art studio in Avivo’s Minneapolis Community Support Program, we organize together as the Avivo Artworks Collective. If you ask us who we are, we would say we are artists – first and foremost. What brings us together is the goal to create community so that we can support one another. Our mission statement reads, “As a collective of artists, we embrace diversity, build community and present publicly. In doing so, we are challenging mental health stigma, and demonstrating that people living with mental illness can achieve success in art and life. We also aim towards building … Continue reading