San Diego, CA - ArtOASIS, an art-based program presented by the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (MCASD) that supports active-duty members of the armed forces in recovery from the symptoms of combat-related stress, continued despite the inability to meet in person.
In its sixth year, this partnership joined MCASD with Veterans Village of San Diego (VVSD)--a nationally recognized leader in serving homeless military veterans. In past years, ArtOASIS pairs an Art Therapist with a Case Manager to leady by weekly conversations and art-making sessions with participants.
When the pandemic struck, the importance of these connections became even more pronounced. MCASD transitioned to virtual art therapy sessions and began offering ArtLine (a hotline of sorts.) The demand for more art during a stressful time is a testament to its power. The result is a powerful mural on display outside the Museum’s downtown location called TRANSFORMATION: BE THE CHANGE.
Pre -COVID, MCASD celebrated participants of this program at the annual ArtOASIS Showcase. Instead of this in-person celebration, the participants created a collective mural displayed on the museum’s exterior breezeway panels downtown for all passersby to enjoy. Veterans at VVSD worked with Art Therapist Berenice Badillo and Case Manager Ingrid Psuty to employ creativity tools to engage in transformation and healing conversations.
“Be the change'' is a Ghandi quote. In these unknown times this message communicates that we each have the power in ourselves to be the change we want to be in the world. This mural captures the essence of what we have been doing in VVSD where our personal transformation can have a ripple effect in the world around us. Those three simple words can empower a collective consciousness,” Amy, U.S. Army Veteran and program participant.
MCASD hosted a virtual unveiling of this mural with the artists that created this work. Friday, November 6, at 1:30 PM on MCASD Instagram TV. Artist (Veterans), Art Therapist, VVSD Case Manager and Cris Scorza, MCASD Senior Director of Education and Engagement, shared the mural virtually.
TRANSFORMATION: BE THE CHANGE, 2020
Artists: Andrew, Amy, Mathew, and Tia
In collaboration with MCASD’s Art Therapist Berenice Badillo and VVSD’s Case Manager Ingrid Psuty
Tryptic Mural: Acrylic on wood board
Each mural is 8 X 4 feet. They are placed in individual “niches” along the south side of the Jacobs Building, Downtown San Diego
Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego
1100 Kettner Boulevard, San Diego, 92101
(between Broadway and B Street)
Transformation: Be The Change is a triptych mural representing the emotional and physical metamorphosis that occurs when someone is vulnerable and open to the possibilities of healing and well-being. Inspired by works in the MCASD collection including Ed Ruscha’s Brave Men of La Jolla,1995-1996 veterans in the program ArtOASIS at VVSD created a piece that invites the viewer, the passerby, to reflect on their own agency.
ArtOASIS at Veterans Village of San Diego (VVSD)
ArtOASIS is an art-based program supporting active-duty military personnel and veterans in recovery from combat-related stress and substance abuse symptoms. ArtOASIS is offered as a recreational component to the interdisciplinary recovery program offered at VVSD by pairing an MCASD Art Therapist with a Case Manager to lead weekly conversations and art-making sessions with participants. Utilizing art therapy to create a safe space where they can bear witness to their stories, validate their struggles, and work together towards hope.
The ArtOASIS program at MCASD is made possible by lead contributions from Elizabeth Phelps and the California Arts Council. Institutional support is provided by the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture, County of San Diego Community Enhancement Fund, and annual contributors to the MCASD Museum Fund.
MCASD note to media: To protect the privacy of our partners we are using their first names only
Amy, United States Army veteran
“Be the change'' is a Ghandi quote. The military connection in the mural is subtle with the use of the font, but anyone who has been in the military can connect with it. In these unknown times this message communicates that we each have the power in ourselves to be the change we want to be in the world. This mural captures the essence of what we have been doing in VVSD where our personal transformation can have a ripple effect in the world around us. Those three simple words can empower a collective consciousness.”
“The therapeutic art program has been an anchor in my healing and recovery. Learning and having discussions about contemporary art has assisted me in finding my voice by putting words to my emotional responses. The art making process of “drawing outside the lines “ has taught me to accept myself, have patience by getting into the “flow” and to articulate my feelings and experiences.
Andrew, United States Marine veteran
“This mural is a visual map of our experiences, strengths and hope. It shows where we came from and how we have transformed and blossomed to a productive member of society.”
“Creating art has helped me have a better understanding of myself by bringing out my internal thoughts and in validating my sensitivity. Through this therapeutic artistic process it has brought me to tears and joy but most importantly helped me to figure out who I am inside.”
LaTia, United States Navy veteran
“As a sailor this mural represents freedom because it brings back memories of when I wore my uniform where everyone worked together in unity. Art is a way to connect to other people and this project made me feel alive and connected to life together with my peers.“ Mathew, United States Navy veteran “This mural is a visual representation of the movement forward I’ve created in my life since I arrived here at VVSD. “My life’s journey and the struggles I have overcome have left me with the knowledge that I can handle anything.
Ingrid Psuty, Case Manager
“This mural is a symbolic representation of the stages of change and shows the visual progression within the metamorphosis that the clients go through at VVSD. I’ve had the pleasure to embark in this journey of change and transformation with my clients. It has been inspirational to bear witness to their astounding growth and insight.”
Berenice Badillo, PhD LMFT ATR-BC
“In assisting in the creation of a mural over zoom, I have learned so much regarding the power of stepping back, believing in the process and in going with the flow!” Berenice is a licensed mental health counselor and a board certified art therapist. Berenice utilizes art therapy to provide a safe space and a platform in which people can explore and process difficult material, validate and communicate emotions and create counter stories to negative imposed narratives. Murals serve in building lasting relationships, changing identities to that of an artist and once completed are conduits to the viewers that interact with the art. ###
Toni Robin, TR/PR Public Relations, 858 483 3918, firstname.lastname@example.org