May 23: Learn How Art Helps Us Heal

REACH Annual Meeting
How Art Helps Us Heal

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

On May 23, we came together at the Massachusetts Medical Society to learn how art helps us heal, through the power of art therapy and support from local artists. 

What is art therapy?

Art therapy (aka expressive arts) is an integrative mental health and human services profession that enriches the lives of individuals, families, and communities through active art-making, creative process, applied psychological theory, and human experience within a psychotherapeutic relationship.

Why does REACH use art therapy?

 “We don’t even need words, we go straight to where the memory is stored.”  This is how REACH’s Child and Adolescent Therapist, Catalina, describes the work she does through art therapy with children. The Art Therapy Alliance defines art therapy as “the deliberate use of art-making to address psychological and emotional needs, facilitated by an Art Therapist.  Art therapy uses art media and the creative process to help in areas such as, but not limited to: fostering self-expression, create coping skills, manage stress, and strengthen sense of self.  Art therapy has provided mental health treatment for clients who have experienced trauma, grief and loss, depression, chronic illness, substance abuse, and more.”

How do community artists support our work?

We have been fortunate to have had hundreds of artists contribute plates that they’ve hand-painted and designed for our annual Reach for the Stars Gala.  These special one-of-a-kind pieces of art have become our signature stamp for the Gala.  This year’s plates have been completed in time to preview at the annual meeting.  You will have the opportunity to meet some of the artists, too!

Who has facilitated the community artists’ partnerships?

We have been fortunate for many artists’ and volunteers’ participation in this process, but the most instrumental artist and volunteer has been Pat Mattina, who we will be honoring at the annual meeting.  Read more about our honorees below: 

Kevin Dunckel
Volunteer and Board Member

Kevin has been on the REACH Board of Directors since 2013 and the Reach for the Stars Gala committee since 2010, when he and his wife, Kathie, co-chaired the Gala.  Over the years, Kevin has been an invaluable volunteer.  He’s our most reliable “mover” – picking up regular donations at Target and the Greater Boston Food Bank; delivering gifts to survivors during the holiday season; helping survivors move furniture from one home to the next; delivering, picking up, and storing the Reach for the Stars plates and materials at his home; among many other things.  Kevin brings such joy and humor with every visit he makes to the office and shelter.  We are truly grateful for the countless ways he helps REACH.

Pat Mattina
Volunteer and Advisory Board Member

Pat Mattina has been on our Advisory Board since 2006.  She is a professional artist and teacher with the Waltham Mills Artists West Association.  Pat first became involved with REACH in 2004, with the planning of the first annual Reach for the Stars Gala.  Along with Audrey Foster, they secured more than 100 artists to design plates to be auctioned off at the Gala.  Now celebrating our 15th annual Gala this year, the plates remain our signature piece for the event.  Pat continues to be not only a plate artist herself, but REACH’s artist liaison – lending an ear and support to plate artists, and guiding the process with survivors who are creating plates for the first time.  With an energy like no other, Pat brings her whole self to her work, and spreads peace and positivity to everyone and everything she encounters.  If you’ve been to our office, you may have seen the gorgeous piece she donated, “Butterfly Strokes, No. 3.”