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painting of a purple tree with books in branchesExpressive Recovery

The Brushes with Life Arts Program is a creative recovery therapy group for people in treatment at the UNC Center for Excellence in Community Mental Health; members of Club Nova, a local clubhouse for persons with mental illness; and other select community programs in the Chapel Hill area.

Through the creation of visual art, poetry, film, and music, participants find healing and move toward recovery. By connecting with the larger community around their work, they promote a broader understanding of the human side of mental illness.

Artists select a wide range of media to convey their ideas and feelings. They further their talents by participating in program-sponsored art classes, and have the opportunity to share their work in the Brushes with Life Gallery located at the NC Neurosciences Hospital.

Brushes with Life Group Classes

10:30am – 12:00pm
Virtual via Zoom OR In-person, Farm at Penny Lane
This group provides visual arts activities where participants can select from a wide range of mediums to express their thoughts and emotions. All skill levels are encouraged.

To register for a group, or if you have any questions: Contact Farm Program Manager Matt Ballard, 919-533-9397

Brushes with Life Art Gallery

The Brushes with Life Art Gallery was created to give local adults living with mental illnesses an opportunity to display and sell their artwork, as well as help lessen the stigma associated with mental illness by showing that those living with a mental illness such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder can be talented, creative and productive.

The gallery features art by more than 100 artists living in the area who are living with serious mental illnesses. Our artists work with many different media including photography, acrylics, watercolors, yarn, paper, ceramics, fabric arts, poetry, jewelry and oil paints. Each time a new show is hung, there is an opening exhibition for artists, families, staff and friends to enjoy the new work and delight in the beauty. It is also an opportunity for musicians, dancers, and videographers to show off their work.

The gallery has been featured at many local and state wide venues including the North Carolina Museum of Art, the Raleigh Durham Airport, Panzanella, the FRANK gallery, UNC Charlotte, the Global FedEx building on UNC’s campus, the Carrboro library as well as several area churches. In 2005 the gallery won the Lilly Reintegration Award for Mental Health Advocacy.

We hope you will become involved in our efforts to lessen the stigma of mental illness by becoming a supporter of the gallery. We welcome your feedback, enthusiasm and ideas. You can contact Thava Mahadevan for additional program information or by calling the Brushes with Life art purchase coordinator at 919-445-0206. We invite you to come by and see the art, much of which is for sale

North Carolina Neuroscience Hospital | UNC Health Chapel Hill Campus
101 Manning Drive, Chapel Hill 27514
Art is located in the lobby/ground floor hallway and 3rd floor hallway

Parking: UNC Hospitals Dogwood Deck off Manning Drive and in nearby campus lots.
Hours: Currently Closed due to COVID-19 restrictions 8:00 a.m.–8:00 p.m., seven days per week.

Support Mental Health Recovery

Your donations support the creative alternative recovery programs. These programs include group therapies such as Horticultural Therapy, Brushes with Life, and Wellness Wednesday. As well as community programs such as the CORA Food Pantry, Wellness on Wheels Mobile Clinic and Tiny Home Village.