AWAKENINGS PROJECT

Rating: 4.92 stars   38 reviews

Issues: Arts & Culture, Mental Health, Health

Location: P.O. Box 177 Wheaton IL 60187 USA

Mission: The group's mission is to assist persons with mental health issues in developing their craft and finding an outlet for their creative abilities through art in all forms. The Awakenings Project also works in another direction: to seek to raise public acceptance and awareness of the creative talents of people living with psychiatric disorders who work in the fields of fine art, music, literature and drama. As writers and artists in recovery, for over a decade, we at Awakenings have basked in this activity, and feel sure the public will continue to better surmise the creative capacity and endowment of persons living with mental health issues. The Awakenings Project has succeeded. Awakenings has been a grass-roots initiative. It shows that mental health consumers can become producers of extraordinary art exhibits, can publish an internationally acclaimed literary arts journal, can support music and theatrical events. Our work has not gone unnoticed. In 2006 we were winners of the "Outstanding Contribution to Recovery by a Non-Profit Organization" award by the Irwin Foundation at Celebration Recovery.
Results: We've been in existence since 1996, but only became a 501(c)3 in January 2004. All of us live with some diagnosis of a mental illness and we love to create art. We've produced literary arts journals for over 10 years, produced many, many gallery shows, where we have musicians at our opening receptions, we do art fairs, fundraisers, etc., etc.
Target demographics: people who like to create art, whether visual, music, literary or drama, who also live with some form of mental illness.
Direct beneficiaries per year: Our studio serves approximately 35 - 50 artists per year, and we print work from approximately 35 authors in our literary journal annually.
Geographic areas served: Chicago, Chicagoland, DuPage County, Kane County, Cook County, Will County, and sometimes all of Illinois
Programs: art groups, classes, exhibits, producing The Awakenings Review, poetry readings/slams, music and dramatic productions.
2011 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

This is a wonderful organization that empowers people with mental illness to reach their full potential through the arts. They publish an outstanding literary journal, The Awakenings Review, have an art studio, produce plays and have poetry and music nights.

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1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

The Awakenings Project is a great organization run by individuals with a mental illness. The organization uses the creative arts to help people understand their illness and learn about recovery. The organization encourages artists of all kinds to reach their potential. The role models of the artists help people in their journey to recovery as well as erase the stigma associated with mental illness.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I have seen the results of this organization as people grow in confidence.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I would have affiliates of this organization around the world. It is a model for best practices of what works in mental health recovery.

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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

I have been in touch with this organisation from the early days of my own recovery. It inspired me to know that there was such a celebration of talents and a proactive response to people's abilities in encouraging them to take their work forward and bring it to the wider attention of society at large. In so doing the public can appreciate the gifts of people rather than being made aware of their so-called deficits which every human being has should we choose to look at life that way. The quality and diversity of the work produced has been nothing short of astounding. I am extremely proud to be associated with this highly acclaimed enterprise and the passion the workers show.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Quite well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

I was so surprised when I found The Awakenings Project. A roomful of artists and art supplies and I could come and use the studio and have a place to paint and not worry about the smell of turpentine or a bit of spilled paint. My apartment complex would never allow that. And on top of that we have shows! My art can be seen! A chance to have someone connect with what my art says about what I feel, what pain I have been thru, where I find healing in my life. I love the shows. They allow those of us with Mental Illnesses to speak to the public, to help them understand our lives, our talents. And some of us are even able to sell our artwork to have the money to make more. But most of all I like being able to talk to people who "get it" and share our struggles and our joys as we walk thru life looking for healing and acceptance.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Quite well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

I have been a member of Awakenings for eight years-during the eight years-I had a my art work in art shows and even got an award from one art show-I volunteer for Awakenings by helping getting donations and also I volunteer for Awakenings by doing art groups at two nursing homes-since I have been a member of Awakenings the organization has helped me with my recovery of my mental illness-I would refer Awakenings to other people

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Making new frieinds, experience volunteering for Awakenings

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Encouraging more people to use the Awakenings Art Studio and Help Awakenings to raise more money by having more benefits

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

What one change could this group make that would improve your volunteer experience?

By being more considerate of other people with mental illness who are at a lower level functioning than me

Did your volunteer experience have an effect on you? (teaching you a new skill, or introducing new friends, etc.)

By volunteering for Awakenings doing art groups at two nursing homes-It helps me to learn more about certain kinds of art

How did this volunteer experience make you feel?

It helps my recovery of my mental illness to volunteer for Awakenings

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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

I'm writing this review with some sense of bias--I'm the current President of the Awakenings Project and in 1996 and 1997 I got the ball rolling, as the founder you might say. I think the story of how Awakenings was founded speaks volumes for the wonderful and important work that we do. I appoached the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Illinois with a proposal to display an art show at their annual conference in 1997 where all the exhibitors would have mental illnesses. NAMI agreed. As a person with serious mental illness, I was just learning of the power of art on the self perception and self esteem of people who have mental illnesses. Expecting only a dozen artists to come out for that first show we got four times that many! The show was a terrific success! The next year we had another, and another after that. The momentum grew such that The Awakenings Project became an organization in its own right. Today very many of the people who started Awakenings are still with it! It's taken a life of its own and it guided the lives of many, including mine.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I've helped find myself as a photographer and writer and I've made great friends.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

If I had to change this organization I would seek funding to support a small staff.

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Rating: 5 stars  

I suffer from a mental illness, and I am on SSDI. After first recieving SSDI, I felt like a failure becuase I am no longer able to work. However, I have a creative spirit, and The Awakenings Project allowed me to channel that gift in an extremely posotive way. Once agian I had an identity, that was truer than any other I had possesed before. I am an artist, and Awakenings gave me an avenue to showcase, express, and help others with their creative works. Not to mention the friendships that have developed through the group!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

all areas of my life. Not just the creative side, but leadership, organizatio, and socially as well.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

distribute responsibilities among more members.

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Rating: 5 stars  

I am tremendously thankful for the help from the non profit project called Awakenings. Besides giving my cherished artwork a significant place to show, I have loved providing music for the events. When I moved back to live with my parents I was able to exhibit several paintings and ceramic pieces for an Awakenings show in Aurora, Illinois. It made me feel better to gain my own self confidence and an overall good feeling. Now, when I'm asked to play my guitar, I feel so happy to provide music for different Awakenings events.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

It helps with my mental health to know that my talents can be used.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I would want the Awakenings project to reach more people like me who could benefit from it.

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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

"The Awakenings Project" has enabled me to get connected to some of the most talented artists I have ever met. I remember going to the "old" studio in downtown Glen Ellyn with a group of Awakenings members. The studio had a charm of its own: it was filled with art materials and tools, but what caught my eye was clay. I ended up making a sculpture and with the help of friends having it fired. That was my first time working with artisan clay.
A couple of years after, I started taking art courses at the College of Dupage, in part due to being involved in "The Awakenings Project". I love to paint and draw. Art moves me in a way that nothing else does.
The poetry readings and art exhibits are great for us to meet and share ideas and stories.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I participated in a few fundraisers for "The Awakenings Project". It is always great to get together and catch up with members and see what they have been working on. Also, participating in poetry readings and art shows has been great. It is a great atmosphere that fosters growth and talent.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Invite more people to become members.

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Rating: 5 stars  

A great resource for people in my community, Awakenings is a positive and encouraging place for artists to explore creative arts, and empower and express themselves in the process. I constantly recommend The Awakenings Project art studio to the patients I work with at Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital, especially those who demonstrate interest and/or talent in art of any kind. The people of Awakenings make it an exceptional, unique and fun experience that everyone can enjoy.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

getting to meet artists who live well with mental illness, create artwork myself, and enjoy a free and open atmosphere that encourages creativity and originality...two areas I'd like to expand and grown in personally.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

bring the art studio back to its roots, in DuPage County...

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Rating: 5 stars  

I remember being back in the old Mason Lodge, and the first day I come by getting an old indian loom, and working on the other loom too. The Awakenings Project is great!!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

all my life activities, and my whole family asks about them all the time.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

no changes need except more money for the artists!!

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