LINCOLN — The Lincoln Regional Center is turning to art to connect with the larger community.
The “Artist of the Arboretum” show is displaying the work of local artists at the regional center. The center's campus is part of the 207-acre arboretum at Folsom Street and West Prospector in Lincoln.
The program began in March, and the artists whose work has been on display thus far have personal experiences with mental illness and have used art to help them cope and recover.
“Art can play an important role in recovery for consumers of mental health services,” said Carol Coussons de Reyes, administrator of the Office of Consumer Affairs at the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services. “Art can create community through appreciation.”
Coussons de Reyes said she hopes the show attracts more community members to the arboretum and the regional center. Each artist's work is displayed for a month.
“I hope that it connects more people with the Lincoln Regional Center community,” she said.
John Friday of Lincoln, whose artwork was on display through April, said he seeks to connect with others through his work.
Friday has struggled with clinical depression and obsessive compulsive disorder after a difficult childhood. He said he hopes his experiences with mental illness, which are portrayed in his paintings, can comfort others.
“I hope they see that they're not alone,” Friday said.
Amber Roland of Lincoln, whose work will be displayed in May, said she would like others to discover the power of art to help them cope with mental illness or other struggles.
“It helps you get through tough times,” she said.
Roland, who has struggled with mental illness since her teen years, said she sees a link between mental illness and creativity.
“It's like a blessing for everything we endure,” Roland said. “To me art is like a tiny vacation from life. It takes you away from everyday stresses.”
Roland said she gets her inspiration from household items, nature and patterns. She said she hasn't always considered herself an artist, even while studying art in college.
“In fact, my professor told me to find another major,” Roland wrote in a talk for the art show. “I didn't.”
Coussons de Reyes hopes to continue the show throughout the year and invite other local artists, whether or not they've experienced mental illness in their life, to display their work.
The community is invited to view Roland's show and meet her at the Administration Building on the Lincoln Regional Center's campus at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday.
The art exhibit in the lobby is open to the public from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday until May 30.
Artists interested in displaying their work can contact the Lincoln Regional Center at 402-471-4047.
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