Spring Benefit Art Gala to celebrate and bring awareness to students in recovery

Spring Benefit Art Gala to celebrate and bring awareness to students in recovery

Rachel Linch | Contributing Writer

The UNT Collegiate Recovery Program is holding its second annual Spring Benefit Art Gala on April 14 and will feature recovering UNT students’ artwork on the rooftop terrace of The University Union.

The event takes place between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. and will help raise money to fund the CRP. The CRP is a program the Department of Disability & Addiction Rehabilitation offers to help students recover from substance abuse, mental health issues and other quality of life concerns. The gala is free to anybody who wants to come support the program, and will also offer live entertainment and refreshments.

The program’s mission is rooted in the basic principles of peer accountability, honesty, acceptance, empowerment and trust, said CRP Director Amy Trail.

Trail said she came up with the idea for the event last spring when the CRP staff was trying to figure out what to do with all of the art that their students had created throughout the year. They decided to host a silent auction as a way to raise money while recognizing the creative work their students have done.

“The art gala is a yearlong culmination of CRP staff [and] member creative arts engagement,” Trail said. “The students love showing off their work and experiencing the value that the community places on their recovery journey.”

The artwork being auctioned off has mainly been created in a creative arts group that the program offers, led by Thomas Wylie, a 42-year-old nontraditional student who works as a CRP student assistant.

“Not all of the art is done by us, but I say about 90 percent of it is,” Wylie said. “It’s a good therapeutic activity without being too heavy, so it’s something we’ve always done – be creative and do artwork.”

Wylie said the program advocates to bring awareness for recovery on campus and hopes to help students feel that they are not alone on their journey towards living a healthy life.

“We like to advocate and let people know that recovery is about a lot of different things and there’s nothing to be ashamed of,” Wylie said. “It’s a positive that people are trying to get well and move forward, so we try to break the stigma about mental health.”

The gala will also auction off over 40 paintings that have been donated by CRP students and professional artists with a simple theme of self-expression, Trail said.

Ryan Adkison, a 25-year-old student assistant for the program, said that the art is a good and fun stress reliever.

“Painting is a way for you to get feelings maybe you’re repressing out in some way,” Adkison said.

Every piece of art sold will help the UNT recovery program pursue its mission by offering alternative events for its students. These events include things such as Clean Break, holiday parties, game nights and conference trips.

Trail said this week’s upcoming art gala is just one way the CRP is working to bring awareness to its mission on campus and the work that students have put in towards their own recovery journey this year.

“It is our hope that more students, staff and faculty are aware of our presence on campus as well as the particularly overwhelming experiences of students choosing to live a life in recovery,” Trail said.

Featured Image: The Collegiate Recovery Program hosts tabling even to get the word out about their Spring Benefit Art Gala. Rachel Linch

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