For local artistic nonprofits, art is about much more than the product | St. Louis Public Radio

For local artistic nonprofits, art is about much more than the product

Sep 12, 2018

Lorraine Reeb will be one of many individuals and organizations hawking their creative wares along St. Charles’ historic Main Street this weekend, and she’s excited about what her organization, Blank Canvas Studios, will have to offer passersby.

“Having a divergent way of interpreting the world makes really raw, uninhibited, amazing art,” she said on this Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air.

One of a handful of outreach-oriented nonprofits that will be showcasing work at the 24th Annual Mosaics Fine Arts Festival, Blank Canvas Studios provides an artistic outlet to adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities. Reeb is the program director, and she joined host Don Marsh for a conversation alongside Lauren Zeiger, regional coordinator of Preferred Family Healthcare’s A.R.T.C. program.

A.R.T.C., which will also have work available for purchase at the festival, serves adolescents and adults with substance-use disorders as well as at-risk youth populations.

Zeiger said that the skills, talents and interests of her organization’s young clients are strategically woven into their treatment. This methodology is particularly useful with more withdrawn participants.

When A.R.T.C. is introduced into treatment, she explained, “people do start opening up and actually working on the goals they came to treatment for.”

A.R.T.C.’s Lauren Zeiger (at left) and Blank Canvas Studios program director Lorraine Reeb joined Wednesday’s discussion.
Credit Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

The artistic component offers clients alternative modes of coping, encouraging them to abandon destructive mechanisms in exchange for healthy, creative avenues for healing.

Reeb noted that Blank Canvas Studios, by contrast, is less about pursuing therapeutic goals for their clients with developmental and intellectual disabilities and more about offering “the opportunity to have your voice heard and to be seen in the community.”

She stressed the importance of building her students’ confidence, describing the pride she notices in her clients when they self-identify as artists. Blank Canvas encourages the development of a space without rigid rules – a space “where there’s no wrong way to ‘art.’”

Zeiger noted that despite the outstanding work clients in A.R.T.C. are consistently producing, the program is not about the product.

She and Reeb agreed that art can be both a productive form of expression and an unconventional but deeply effective tool for healing, building confidence and developing a sense of identity.

Related Event
What: 24th Annual Mosaics Fine Arts Festival
When: Friday through Sunday, September 14-16, 2018
Where: Historic Main Street in St. Charles, Missouri

St. Louis on the Air brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh and producers Alex HeuerEvie Hemphill,Caitlin Lally and Xandra Ellin give you the information you need to make informed decisions and stay in touch with our diverse and vibrant St. Louis region.