Nashville organization uses art to promote healing

Posted at 8:22 PM, Mar 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-20 23:42:06-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn (WTVF) — One organization is treating mental illness with art, and those suffering say it's the healing they always needed.

Looking at Cynthia Potter's art it's hard to believe she's been doing this for only a few years and watching her singing and dancing it's also hard to believe she struggles with a mental illness.

“I have bipolar and I have severe ups and downs and most of them are downs,” said Potter.

Like many others Potter says she has found healing through her drawings.

“Art is our way of expressing our emotions and our feelings and it allows us to let things out which we keep bottled up,” Potter said.

Wednesday was Behavioral Health Day at the Capitol. Advocates and supporters used this time to lobby for mental health awareness and resources. But one organization is letting these pictures to do the talking.

“I go to a peer support center in Clarksville Tennessee and they have a HAPI art teacher come in twice a year and teach us different forms of art,” said Potter.

Healing Arts Project Inc or HAPI provides artistic opportunities for those battling mental illness and addiction recovery. HAPI currently serves approximately 400 individuals in mental health and addiction recovery each year.

I've seen people open more be able to speak more about who they are and a little more about their illness. One of the participants said today that we’re people not the illness,” said HAPI Executive director Lynece Benton-Stewart

And art is their cure.

“When I’m stressed out that’s what I do, when I’m having a bad day that’s what I do. It’s my medicine,” said Potter.

Many pieces of the art will be displayed throughout legislators office, and all of them are on sale you find out more information here