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Contact: Ardis Hanson at 813-974-4471 or hanson@fmhi.usf.edu

" Semi-Permanent Art Exhibit at the Louis de la Parte Florida Mental Health Institute"

[330 words]
(Tampa, January, 2004)

The Marge Brewster Center and the Winter Haven Hospital Behavioral Health Division in Sebring, Florida has loaned to the Louis de la Parte Florida Mental Health Institute Research Library a small photographic collection created by participants with severe and persistent mental illness.

Comprised of twelve mounted photographs, the exhibit provides a glimpse of how persons in the partial day treatment program perceive the natural world, with shots of trees, sky, and ground. The photographs are not signed, to preserve the confidentiality of the participants, and to illustrate the commonality that all individuals share with each other in the appreciation of nature.

As Benjamin Rush, a founder of American psychiatry, observed, "...the mind sometimes discovers not only unusual strengths and acuteness, but certain talents it never exhibited before. Talents for eloquence, poetry, music and painting, and uncommon ingenuity in several of the mechanical arts, are often evolved in this state..." This quote illlustrates the unique talents and creativity of individuals who are artists and who have mental illnesses.

This is not the first exhibit housed by the Institute's Research Library. In October of 2003, the Library hosted ADA Artfest, a traveling exhibit by 11 artists, brought to Florida by VSA Arts of Florida. In addition, the Library has, since its inception in 1974, a number of donated art pieces created by persons with disabilities. These pieces include paintings, a wall-sized triptych, stained glass panels, and sculpture.

For more information about the Institute's Research Library or to see its collections, the Library is open Monday through Thursday, 8 am to 8 pm, and Friday 8am to 5pm.

The Marge Brewster Center in Highlands County provides mental health treatment to individuals of all ages. The Winter Haven Hospital Behavioral Health Division and the State of Florida Department of Children and Families sponsor the services. For more information about the Brewster Center and its services, call (863)385-5179.

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