PeaceLove Studios, based in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, provides free art classes to communities effected by mental illness. Their mission is to help people create peace of mind and find comfort through artistic expression. They aim to chip away and remove the stigma attached to mental illness beginning with sharing personal stories.
Co-founder, Jeff Sparr, openly shares his story and struggle with OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). For years, he searched for ways to ease his symptoms. Along with other tools, he found that painting brings him peace of mind.
He says, “My ‘something more’ would be to create a positive symbol of hope and acceptance for mental health. Every cause has their ‘ribbon,’ but tens of millions of people like me and their friends and families had nothing to rally and celebrate behind.”
So in 2009, Jeff and his cousin, Matt Kaplan, created PeaceLove, and with it, a powerful symbol of understanding for mental health. See an inspiring video of Jeff featured on Discovery Health Channel.
This creative organization with a purpose encourages people to share their mental illness stories as Jeff has. Their approach is summed up in three words: wear, share, experience. Wear the symbol, share your mental illness story and experience their programs. Each element is aimed at building community, creating understanding and opening conversation around mental illness.
Workshops and programs can be customized and brought to your corporation or community. They are also offered locally in Rhode Island in their studio. Check out their calendar for upcoming programs.
1 in 4 people live with a diagnosable mental illness. Two thirds won’t get the help they need and deserve due largely to stigma. PeaceLove offers a rallying cry for acceptance and solidarity through creative programs, products, and spaces that celebrate the healing power of art and community.
The foundation was established in 2009 and is growing awareness day by day. On Friday, May 3, 2013, they hosted their annual “Get Your PeaceLove On” party fundraiser complete with silent auction, live bands, The Second City improv company, amazing foods and, of course, artwork hung everywhere.
Visit their website to learn more, to bring a workshop to your community, to share your story.
They a 501(c)(3) nonprofit which is funded through merchandise sales, corporate workshop giveback, grants, donations and the annual fundraiser party.
Since February 2009, they have provided more than 11,500 free expressive art experiences.
Join in and shop to help break the silence.