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Centerstone: An ArtsThrive Partner

ArtsThrive partners with 21 local artists and 20 area Healthcare Facilities to bring participatory, creative opportunities to patients and caregivers while they are in crisis, under stress, or going through a health transition. ArtsThrive hosts 32 on-going (weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly) groups in these facilities, hosting a variety of activities to children in shelter, seniors facing end of life, people in recovery from substance abuse, and veterans healing from the wounds of war and military service. No matter the activity they engage in, most participants find that creativity provides stress release, emotional outlets, inspiration, connection to others, coping skills and additional tools to use in the future, and fun during difficult times. Like its name, the objective of ArtsThrive is to plant artistic seeds, create tending tools, and to open space in the mind and spirit for finding ways to thrive even when the weather is rough.

Centerstone and the Crisis Stabilization Unit have been been partnering with ArtsThrive since 2013. Each session, one of the artists teaches their craft to a group of one to ten children who have experienced some form of mental health crisis. Any given week, participants could be engaged in visual art, music, storytelling, dance/movement, or writing. 

Pastel Centerstone

During these sessions, children are able to express themselves, burn off energy, interact and build relationships with caring adults, and make artistic choices for themselves at a time they don’t have control over much else. 75 percent of children that have been surveyed after ArtsThrive sessions at Centerstone have said that they feel better, and 85 percent say they feel more connected to the people around them in their institutional setting. When asked to describe what they have learned or how they feel about art, children at Centerstone reported it could change their mood and make them feel “brave, artistic, proud of who [they] are.” 

Matt Purdy, Director of Children’s Crisis Services at Centerstone, has also noticed a change in the young clients ArtsThrive serves: “the weight, the stigma, the jagged veneer” of their past lives are gone, “only to be replaced by the beautiful smile and the light heart of a kid just being a kid and having a moment of freedom and peace only found in the gift of art and expression.

Purdy says this program is a gift to everyone at Centerstone:

“They not only serve our young clients, but they equally serve the spirits, hopes, and the motivations of our staff…myself included. To me, the beauty of life is in those moments.”


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