Using art to triumph over mental illness

Genesis Club the next Artists in Residence

By Sandra Gray

UMass Medical School Communications

June 28, 2011
Genesis Club Art Show

Members of the Genesis Club display multi-media works at “Explorations Expressed,” the next Artist in Residence exhibit at the Lamar Soutter Library.


Wood block prints and digital photos by Liz Swallow will be among 65 works by Genesis Club artists on display at “Explorations Expressed,” the next Artist in Residence Exhibit at the Lamar Soutter Library.

Some artists strive for psychic healing as well as creative expression through their work. Such is the case for members of the Genesis Club Art Committee, who are featured in the next Lamar Soutter Library Artist in Residence exhibit at UMass Medical School. Showcasing more than 65 works in a variety of media, “Explorations Expressed” will celebrate and support Genesis Club members who have found that painting, sculpting, photographing and creating other artistic works help them triumph over major mental illnesses. 

A charter member of the International Center for Clubhouse Development and a founding member of the Massachusetts Clubhouse Coalition, Genesis Club is a place where individuals recovering from mental illness are supported as they pursue opportunities for employment, education, housing, wellness and meaningful friendships. Artist and Genesis Club member Liz Swallow studied art at college prior to being diagnosed with bipolar disorder, but her illness led her far from where she envisioned herself as a student. Since joining Genesis Club and learning about the Worcester Art Museum education scholarship program from another clubhouse member, she has taken numerous courses where she has had the opportunity to explore new media, be inspired to create and once again become a productive artist. 

“Thanks to the support I found at Genesis, I am now working, creating and learning artistically, and involved in the process of mounting shows in galleries,” said Swallow, who will exhibit wood block prints and digital photographs. Swallow also obtained a part-time job at the art museum thanks to Genesis Club’s transitional employment program. “I now have the confidence to pursue other work in the future. And with the help of the Genesis Club, I am on my path to recovery.”  

“Explorations Expressed” opens on Wednesday, June 29, with a reception from 5 to 7 p.m., and runs through Aug. 10. All artworks on display are available for purchase, with all of the proceeds directly benefiting the individual artists and the Genesis Club Art Committee. 

Related links: 

Lamar Soutter Library Artist in Residence Series  
Genesis House