Volume XVII, Issue 26 # June 25 - July 1, 2009

Spotlight on Art

The Unquiet Mind
Illuminates The Galleries at Quiet Waters

Look at the work of Vincent Van Gogh or take a trip to Baltimore to visit the Visionary Art Museum, and you’ll see the brilliance that can result from the alliance of art and mental illness. At the Garden Gallery at Quiet Waters Park in Annapolis, you’ll see how that combination illuminates the work of two local artists.

Colin Lacey, 37, struggles with schizophrenia, an often disabling mental disorder that torments him with confusion and disturbing thoughts.

“Sometimes life just can’t be coped with, so I do art to help smooth the rough edges,” says Lacey. “Everybody gets out of bed in the morning and has to do something. For me, art is an expression of life.”

Christian McCarroll, 30, copes with bipolar disorder. A former student of California Institute of Arts, he paints expressionistically in watercolor and acrylic, using human figures as symbols in his visual language.

“Art has a very therapeutic and cathartic element. I get into the flow and rhythm and get a real satisfaction from that,” says McCarroll. Still, he adds, “the end result, the painting, is most the important part.”

Lacey and McCarroll do most of their painting at Arundel Lodge, a nonprofit day treatment center (its distinctive design is by Annapolis architect Catherine Purple Cherry) on Solomons Island Road between Annapolis and Edgewater. About 200 adults with severe and long-term mental illnesses use Arundel Lodge’s psychiatric services, space and classes to move toward independence in the community.

“The act of creating art allows a troubled mind to find a safe and nurturing place,” says art instructor Deede Miller. “Clients spending their time in expressive activities are building strength and confidence. Behavior may be altered, and a person can become more open to helping others and seeing a positive place in the world.”

This is the second Quiet Waters show of Arundel Lodge artists and the first two-person show for both Lacey and McCarroll.

See the world through their eyes through July 26 at 9am-4pm MWThF; 10am-4pm SaSu @ The Galleries at Quiet Waters, Annapolis: