The Awakenings Project not only gives voice to artists, musicians and writers living with mental illness, it brings awareness, understanding, appreciation and acceptance to the world at large. The creativity is astounding, the volunteers tireless, the shared benefit immeasurable. We all are enriched.
Awakenings has been a journey of awakening the artistic possibilities for my son. They have provided space, supplies, support and opportunities that he would not have had otherwise. It's an encouraging community that we are delighted to support.
We have followed the Awakenings Project through our son for eight years now. The project continues to grow, flourish, and offer opportunities for shows and sales to artists who might otherwise get lost in the shuffle. The artists offer paintings, drawings, sculptures, photographs, furniture, pottery --an amazing breadth of expression.
This is a beautiful group of people sharing their creativity and connections with each other and the world!
In 2007, while I was reeling under a diagnosis of Bi-polar disorder and while painting Oil on Canvas to express my inner landscape; I was introduced to the Awakenings Project by my Psychotherapist soon after hospitalization.
The intention was to meet creative individuals whose lives were similarly disrupted by mental illness or due to their inability to cope with stress. Initially I was afraid to identify myself with a group that could further label me, and distance me from my goal of getting back to "normal" ordinary life.
My apprehension ended when I first met Irene O'Neil and the group. Irene's calm spirit immediately put me at rest and I lay my defenses down. I had carried some of my paintings into the meeting room hoping I could resonate with someone.
By the end of that evening, I felt reassured that I was not isolated on my island of confusion and grief. Others had navigated the waters that I now tread and were managing whatever their conditions in a way that I found commendable.
Awakening Project helped exhibit my work at the local library which then encouraged me to come out of my isolating shell and show my work at different galleries outside. This helped me to relate my problems with family members and friends over time.
Since then, I have moved onward in my journey to recovery. I no longer have a goal to reach the promised land called "normal." I have learned to work with my unique set of sensibilities and strengths.
Awakenings Project with its wonderful members, hold my highest regard and esteem.
I remain grateful. Beena
I may seem biased, as President of the Board of Awakenings, and a member since the get-go, but it's not like I came up with the idea for this project. The credit for that rightly goes to our founder, Robert Lundin. He had the vision for an art show, and it was originally supposed to be just a one-weekend show at a NAMI-IL conference. But I'd like to take some credit for helping to get it off the ground, and for keeping it going for what is now approximately 18 years. There are several other members who have been with us since the beginning also, such as Ben Beyerlein, Anton Witek, Sandy Mazurek, and three other co-founders who have since passed away, Kurt Taecker, Trish Evers, and William Alexander. It's that kind of loyalty that tells me we must be doing something right. With the advent of the internet, we developed our website, and the second version, 2.0, of our website was designed by Wendy Liles, a former board member, who donated her time to do that for us. When facebook was spreading like wildfire, we started The Awakenings Project Group, and later Awakenings Project Page, which have helped us expand far beyond the borders of Illinois, to find like-minded artists from all across the country and even around the world. Robert Lundin also had the vision to see us expanding into the Literary Arts, Music, and Drama. This has been an empowering experience for all of us, in every capacity, a learning, loving, and powerful feeling of belonging and significance. I want to thank everyone who has reviewed us and everyone who has participated in any way. I hope we can keep it going together, with all your help. Thank you.
I have worked with The Awakening Project in the past and they obviously touch the souls of some very unique and talented artist.
I grew up understanding the Arts are most essential the existence of humanity. As I have seen the power of the Arts working as therapy for my own bouts of mental illness, I realized the powerful impact it can have on others as well. The Awakenings Project created an important outlet and opportunity for people who need a safe place to express themselves and receive therapy through Art.
When I 1st joined FB, I was looking for groups that met certain requirements. I wanted to be w/ like minded people who are achieving their goals in a trusting comfortable atmosphere. I stumbled upon "The Awakenings Project" w/Irene & Co. And let me tell you they are so much more than that...making music CD's & selling them, going to various art shows...selling paintings, poetry workshops & readings...you name it & they are there. What an inspiration The Awakenings Project has been for me. Although I live a few states away, it feels like I am right at home w/my friends from Awakenings. Bravo to the group for all you do.
Rediscovering Awakenings after some years has allowed me to participate in ways I wouldn't have been able to otherwise. It is truly a great organization that allows participants to be themselves. I feel encouraged to try new things and feel that I am among friends. I only wish I'd been around since the beginning. It is amazing!
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.
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.