Sunday, February 28, 2010


New work, new show:


February 13 - March 20, 2010
Reception: Wednesday, March 3, 5-7pm

Westside Gallery
133/141 West 21 Street
New York, NY 10011

"Counterbalance" is a joint exhibition opportunity for clients and art therapists-in-training. This show was curated by Liz DelliCarpini,internship coordinator, MPS Art Therapy Department.

The MPS Art Therapy Program is a 2-year graduate program that includes coursework in psychology, counseling, assessment techniques, and expressive modalities. A core component of the program is the required 16-hour per week internship.

Each year 1st and 2nd year students each select a client or clients at their respective internship to participate in the exhibition. The process is beneficial to both the client and the students. Clients are chosen to participate based on the perceived therapeutic benefits rendered by exhibiting one's art work in a community setting. As a students, we learn to negotiate the delicate balance of privacy and advocacy.

Client work is listed anonymously, while student work is labeled. Because of the stigma surrounding mental illness, this is a safeguard to prevent negative consequences of public disclosure. Many hours of supervision have been spent discussing the ramifications of this labeling system: who does it benefit? are we, as mental health clinicians, perpetuating the stigma of mental illness? It's a curious intersection, and what I've learned in my short time in the field is that erring on the side of the less radical is often necessary.

I was one of several students that volunteered to co-organize the exhibit. The group collaborated on ways to make the exhibit unique from previous years. We decided upon the theme, images for the postcard, and organized the work in the gallery space. As we looked at a room filled with 80+ pieces of work, creating a cohesive whole seemed like a daunting task. The work ranged from naturalistic to industrial in materials, design, and execution. Continuum and spectrum seem to lurk around every corner in these parts.