By Renée Phillips
Manhattan Arts International is a creative community of art professionals that provides mutual support, encourages camaraderie, and rewards artistic excellence.
One of my greatest pleasures as its director is to present an annual “Celebrate The Healing Power of Art” juried exhibition on our website. Although I have organized over 50 exhibitions in galleries and alternative spaces, I prefer the immediacy and accessibility of curating exhibitions on the Internet.
As an artists’ advocate, mentor and writer for 30 years I have had the honor of meeting extraordinary artists. Artists have the amazing ability to transport and transform us through space, form, movement, color and texture. Their art has the potential to lift us up, make us laugh, and provide tranquility and solace. At its best it enlightens, inspires and empowers us, and presents a new perspective of ourselves and the world we inhabit. The therapeutic life-affirming impact of art is undeniable.
Art as a healing energy is no longer an experience reserved for practicing artists. There is increasing scientific evidence to support the fact that viewing and creating art can affect a person’s physiology, impact brain wave patterns and the nervous system, raise serotonin levels, and so much more. Medical facilities throughout the world are incorporating more art not only on their walls but also in their treatment practices.
In the 90’s I started writing about the healing benefits of art and devoted a section the “Healing Power of Art” in my book Success NOW! For Artists: A Motivational Guide for The Artrepreneur. When my mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 1997 and she could no longer speak coherently we used drawing and music as a means of communication. Since then I have researched and written several articles on the subject for Professional Artist magazine and also The Healing Power of Art blog.
Suffice it to say, it is a passion and a mission. What motivated me to organize the first “Celebrate The Healing Power of Art” exhibition more than a decade ago was my reaction to a prevalence of angst-ridden art that was dominating the New York art scene. After the 9/11 tragedy at the World Trade Center I became more compelled to promote art that radiated positive energy.
Earlier this month Manhattan Arts International began its call for entries for “Celebrate The Healing Power of Art” 2014. As always we are accepting all mediums, styles, and sizes of art from artists from around the world through May 4, 2014.
This year I look forward to serving as a juror with Lilly Wei, a prominent New York art critic for Art in America, ARTnews, and other magazines. Wei is also an independent curator and serves on the board of several art organizations. She and I will select 50 artists for the online exhibition that runs May 17-July 17, 2014. This year several artists will also receive cash, service, publicity, and material awards.
As with any important project our success is built on a foundation of collaboration. We help artists build their relationships, resumes and recognition by inviting leading art professionals to serve as jurors, offer consultations, and write about them.
For example, Carolyn Edlund has generously offered to choose a winning artist for a Featured Artist article on her very popular Artsy Shark website. Barbara Markoff, a corporate art consultant with many clients in the healthcare industry, will share her expertise in a private consultation with an artist of her choice. And, P.C. Turczyn, an artist and writer, will interview an artist “whose work makes a significant contribution to the field” for her Art That Supports the Healing Process blog.
The “Celebrate The Healing Power of Art” exhibition is an extremely rewarding experience. Since New York City plays a dominant role in the art world, artists have told us when they participate in Manhattan Arts International exhibitions their professional credibility is enhanced. Many writers, gallerists, and art buyers discover artists through our exhibitions. Participating artists gain insight into their special gifts as creative individuals and natural healers. And, everyone involved feels they are making a positive difference.
For more information please visit Manhattan Arts.