By Beth Lowder
The newly redesigned Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship (SIE) Lab within the School’s Jordan Institute for Families includes display space to highlight community engagement projects and faculty research. The inaugural exhibit, which opened the night of the School of Social Work’s campaign fundraising kickoff, showcases artwork by members of the Arts and Peer Support Group, a collaboration between faculty member Laurie Selz-Campbell, an expressive therapist from the N.C. Arts Therapy Institute, and a group of local artists.
The Arts and Peer Support Group began in 2011 and was intended to create a space for people to come together, create art, and support one another in the process of mental health recovery. For seven years, they have maintained the group as a safe, facilitated space for creative and reflective work. This engaged collaboration enriches the School significantly. Group members frequently participate in classroom and schoolwide events, generously sharing their art and their lived experiences with mental illness. Through these conversations, students begin to reshape their perceptions and assumptions and, in so doing, challenge the pervasive stigma that so often shapes our public conversations about mental illness. In addition, group members have delivered several professional presentations focusing on the rich potential for collaboration between social work and expressive arts therapies.
The SIE Lab invites you to stop by and see the artwork on loan from the Arts and Peer Support Group, including watercolor prints, digital photography and digital art, pencil drawings, and an iron sculpture. This innovative collaboration is evidence of the impactful work that can arise from engaged partnerships between the School of Social Work and our community.