BCS PROS 9th Annual Art Show

Invitation artwork by Wanda Ramirez

Invitation artwork by Wanda Ramirez

The 9th Annual Brooklyn Community Services (BCS) Art Show took place last week. Two BCS programs participated, the BCS PROS (Personalized Recovery Oriented Services) program which helps adults with their recovery from the effects of mental illness and TLC (Transitional Living Center) program for homeless, low income women who live with mental illness.

For one week, the cafeteria at the BCS office building turns into an art gallery filled from floor to ceiling with drawings, paintings, 2D and 3D works of art from clients who participate in at least one of the two programs. Two licensed art therapists and one art therapy intern from Pratt Institute work together to put on this show this year.

The theme of the art show centered around healing which was represented on the banner that the women of the TLC Shelter had created for the show below. One of the licensed art therapists, Jessica Sebastian from the BC PROS program stands next to the banner.

During the opening reception the community spoke about their experiences in the program, especially related to experiences with creative arts therapy. One of the women from TLC spoke about her thankfulness for the opportunity to show her work to others. She explained how it helped her to feel accomplished. Earlier during the event, she had shown me the pillows and masks that she made which were displayed throughout the space. The staff of BCS focused their speaking around strength which is part of BCS core mission/vision statement and core values. Part of the BCS Mission/Vision statement reads:

Brooklyn Community Services is building a better Brooklyn by strengthening families, helping children and youth reach their full potential, and supporting adults in leading productive, fulfilling lives. 

We celebrate the strength of the human spirit. Our vision is of a Brooklyn where everyone has the opportunity to learn, grow, and contribute to our community.

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It was really special to be present at the show. From my experiences over the years with BCS, I have found that the creative arts therapies have been embraced and incorporated into their programs and utilized by many clients. In addition to the two licensed art therapists on staff, there is also a movement/dance therapist.

Over this past year, the BCS PROS clients have used the creative arts to express themselves further. For instance, Keri the dance therapist helped organize and facilitate a talent show put on by the clients. Other clients began their own art group and run it by themselves. Recently, they had an idea to create a gallery in a quiet space on their program floor. They had their own opening reception and plan to rotate the artwork on a regular basis.

I have included a few examples of the artwork displayed at the 9th Annual Art Show created by the men and women served at the two BCS PROS and TLC programs.