Creative Explorations is a network of artists, writers, filmmakers, photographers, musicians, actors, and other craftspeople who seek to self heal and build connections through artistic expression. We had our start three years ago this May when we began meeting monthly in living rooms on the east end of Long Island to share our work. Our gatherings are always held in the evening, usually starting at 6:00 PM, and we share some type of refreshments and our creative works. There are few rules, but no alcohol or drugs are allowed during meetings, and there is zero tolerance for abusive, obnoxious behavior. We are all adults, so no one censors the work for content, but we are mindful of the appropriateness of what we present for the public.
More than 90% of our group have been diagnosed with a mental health and/or a substance abuse condition. However, such a diagnosis is not a requirement for membership, and no one has to disclose anything that they're not comfortable with sharing. Among us there are vast differences: some have significant work experience including successful careers while others have multiple disabilities and very little paid work experience. One thing we have in abundance is TALENT. The health of our group is based on tolerance, respect, and reverence for individual expression. We are not therapists so we do not try to replace or duplicate the work of art therapists. We simply put ourselves out there to share and encourage one another to keep creating.
In addition to mental health and disabilities organizations, we have partnered with independent arts organizations on the east end, including The Old Town Arts & Crafts Guild and East End Arts. We receive no organizational funding, but have raised funds at area restaurants both in partnership with mental health organizations and independently. Of primary importance to us is projecting a positive image of those us diagnosed with major mental illness by raising awareness of us as vital, vibrant community members.
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Creative Explorations is a partner of the following organizations: