Saturday, February 27, 2016


Art of a different mind

I am lucky to be surrounded in this life by people who do things that I admire. One of them is my sister Kathy, who is a social worker in Chicago.

Specifically, she works with people who have mental illnesses and would be institutionalized (in prison or a mental ward) but for her work-- she goes to a client's home, works with him, and makes sure everything is ok.

Her advanced training is in art therapy. That is, she uses art to help her clients express and understand themselves and create something worthwhile. Earlier this year, she curated a remarkable exhibit of her clients' work at the ARC gallery in Chicago. The images are striking and real; the true images of how these clients see the world.

Here is part of the description of Kathy's work from the program of the exhibit:

Kathy Osler, ATR, LCPC, is the curator of this art exhibition and works as an art therapist at several Thresholds programs.  She has been working in the field of art therapy for 16 years, developing programs to integrate creative expression in the treatment of mental health.   In working with the artists in this program,  she has observed a transformation in some as they identified themselves as artists and how this empowers them to find their own strength in recovery.  The artwork stands on its’ own,  as objects of beauty and as authentic expressions by individuals who value the process as vital to their personal growth.

It is pretty incredible stuff.  I'm proud to be her brother, and always amazed at what she does.

Wow! Kathy has a genuine gift. Who she shares it with is what makes Kathy a very special person.
What is art but a creative impulse of the subconscious? And how fine the line between the controlled chaos of creation and the devastating chaos of madness?
It takes a very special kind of special to delve into the murky labyrinth of mental illness. It takes a soul deeper than the deepest most of us would dare reach. It takes a special kind of insight to capture the warmth, humanity and dignity of a seemingly empty gaze. And it takes a special kind of thank you to your sister Kathy and all the Kathy-likes of this takes a thank you that comes from the very bottom of our hearts.
RE Marta's comment: A Hearty AMEN!
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