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Press Releases

Creative Arts Therapy Patients Present Their Seventh-Annual Multimedia Arts Show

The "Culture: We Are Interwoven" virtual catalog and musical soundtrack showcase work from participants in the country's oldest and largest jail-based creative arts therapy program

Jan 28, 2022

New York, NY

NYC Health + Hospitals/Correctional Health Services (CHS) today announced the publication of “Culture: We Are Interwoven,” a multimedia presentation featuring the artistic narratives of participants in CHS’ Creative Arts Therapy program, the oldest and largest jail-based arts therapy program in the nation. This year’s catalogue and soundtrack comprise more than 80 individual and collaborative pieces — including visual art, poetry, dramatic works, and music — created throughout the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 70 patients worked with CHS’ licensed art therapists to express their thoughts and feelings about culture and identity, using various artistic mediums. The 2021 publication marks the seventh annual Creative Arts Therapy showing, which went virtual in 2020 because of the pandemic.
“The Creative Arts Therapy program is a vital component of CHS’ mental health service, and I congratulate and thank the therapists and artists who made the 2021 Creative Arts Therapy show possible,” said Senior Vice President for NYC Health + Hospitals/Correctional Health Services Patsy Yang, DrPH. “It’s clear from the artistic pieces created— from the masks and baskets to the music and poetry—that the program served as an important therapeutic and creative outlet for patients over the course of a difficult year.”
The licensed creative arts therapists who lead CHS’ Creative Arts Therapy program collaborate with other members of CHS’ mental health service to facilitate voluntary individual and group arts therapy sessions and to provide care and treatment planning for program participants.
“It is a privilege to work on this team, with these patients, and bear witness to their expressed freedom as they heal through the creative arts,” said CHS drama therapist Barbara B., LCAT. “Given the impact of COVID, the provision of creative arts therapy services is more essential than ever.”
Throughout the 2021 sessions, CHS therapists encouraged patients to explore their cultures and identities through mask-making, scene-writing, journaling, improvisation, poetry, music, and mixed media. Most of the artists created individual pieces, but program participants also collaborated to make colorful collages, songs about relationships and loss, and a basket decorated with woven fabric.
“My experience writing a song for the art show was helpful because it made me tap into my creative side in finding an instrumental and putting words to it,” said artist Andrew R., whose stage name is Drew Streetz. “It made me reflect about my life. It was a stress reliever for having things bottled up inside. Being creative made things come out in a different way.”
The “Culture: We Are Interwoven” catalog and soundtrack are featured on the CHS website.
Images of select artwork from this year’s exhibit are available upon request by emailing CHSCommunications@nychhc.org.