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February 20, 2019

Art Studio Gets a Makeover

With generous grants from the Veale Foundation and the Eric and Jane Nord Family Fund, Hopewell recently completed a significant renovation of the farm’s Art Studio, located in the basement of Cottage Two. The renovation’s first phase included the installation of sheetrock, new drop ceilings, electrical work and improved lighting, and plumbing. A second phase saw the installation of new storage cabinetry, a paint booth, sink, painting, and the acquisition of equipment and supplies.

One aim of the renovation was to create discrete spaces within the existing art studio for specific art media work. The space now contains much-improved and separate stations for painting, sculpture, pottery, fiber arts, jewelry-making, and other creative arts. Funding was also used to acquire several pottery wheels to complement the program’s existing kiln equipment, making it possible to conduct pottery classes involving several residents at a time.

According to Hopewell’s art therapist, Mary Cassidy, “The objective of our art therapy program is to provide our residents with purposeful work that instructs, challenges, and provides a safe place for our residents to practice real world skills, including showing up on time, following instructions, working with others, problem solving, and risk-taking.”

“Over the past several years, the types of projects selected for our art crew wares have been intentionally chosen based on their therapeutic value – projects that are group oriented, environmentally friendly, skill-focused, and have a practical purpose,” Mary said. “Further, the projects for work crews are selected based on alignment with our holistic approach to treatment. It is important that our residents are given the opportunity to connect with the ‘why’ of creativity, and how it pertains to their personal healing journey, the benefit of our community, and the wider world,” Mary said.


As a result of this evolving philosophy, and due to limited public traffic, the Hopewell Farm and Craft Market will remain open by appointment only. It will maintain its storefront presence for public access and to serve as an inventory and display space for the farm’s wares, including artwork, candles, pottery, textiles, maple syrup, and wood shop products. Hopewell staff and residents will expand the public presence of our art therapy program by participating in several community art and craft shows each year, and providing Hopewell products for sale at regional consignment shops.

In addition, profits made in sales from Hopewell products will be donated to outside mental health organizations and services, which the community (residents and staff ) will have an opportunity to submit for consideration and select together.

Mary explained, “The purpose of this is to strengthen our commitment to community as a healing force, and by paying it forward the work we do will go directly to help others who need the support. We believe we can extend the therapeutic value of our work by actively fostering such connections with the wider community.”

The community is planning a grand reopening of the Art Studio, and what Mary describes as an “art-activism show” in the fall to give residents a platform to share their personal experiences with mental illness and educate the public on their recovery journeys.

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