11th Annual Art Of Recovery In Traverse City Raises Awareness About Mental Illness

Local artists’ hard work will be showcased in the 11th Annual Art of Recovery this afternoon.

The display features art created by community members who are on their journey to recovering from any struggle they might have been battling.

Facing depression, bipolar disorder, and paranoia, artists Michael Meyer and Betsey Zeeryp are finding their way out of the dark by expressing themselves through their artwork.

“The reason I did this art was to get me through the hard times,” said Michael Meyer.

Now, after 5 years with the art of recovery program…

“I am in a much better place,” he said.

While battling depression and paranoia — he made this.

Paying tribute to his father going blind, so he’d be able to feel his son’s newfound strength in the raised grooves of the art.

“It gave me something else to think about and because I was doing it for my dad it made myself feel good,” said Meyer.

For others — art serves as a distraction.

“I like to do things out of my imagination because I have a hard time with my reality sometimes,” said Betsey Zeeryp.

She has also been participating in the annual event for five years.

“It’s like once I start drawing scales on a dragon or something I just kind of zone out,” said Zeeryp. “It’s almost meditative and it just calms.”

Helping themselves and helping others.

“We’ve seen an increase in awareness and also breaking barriers of stigma for people dealing with mentally challenged,” said Northern Lakes Community Mental Health coordinator, Cynthia Petersen.

Moving forward by drawing strength from the animals they’re displaying in their art.

“They’re bold and strong and I like that about the animals,” said Meyer.

“I like dragons, they represent strength to me,” said Zeeryp.

But finding that strength can be a day to day struggle.

“There are days I just wanna give up and like I said sometimes just getting into drawing and pushing myself forward, as long as I keep crawling that’s all that matters, as long as I’m moving forward,” said Zeeryp.

The display will be open to the public starting Wednesday from 3 p.m. until 6:30 p.m. at the Traverse Area District Library.

Artwork will be available for purchase on November 29.

If you or someone you know is struggling with a mental health issue – click here for a list of local resources.

Categories: Michigan This Morning