Clubhouse Recovery to Host Art Exhibit

“Making a collage is kind of like making a movie. There is a main character and supporting characters,” said Glen Riddle, a retired art teacher, as he held up his collage featuring an image embellished with old socks, a fan of pencils, matches, and Candyland cards.

Riddle regularly shares his knowledge and helps Clubhouse Recovery participants channel their creativity, much of which will be exhibited this fall.

The Jammin’ Art – Living Creatively Exhibit will feature original art created by members of Clubhouse Recovery, a Stillwater-based social group for adults in recovery from a mental illness.

The exhibit will be on Sunday, Nov. 15, from 1-3 p.m. at the ESR building, located at 1754 Washington Avenue in Stillwater, Minn. It will include original artwork in mediums like acrylic, watercolor, graphic drawing, wearable art, photography, mosaic, prose and poetry, and other artful curiosities.

Clubhouse members will create some of the exhibit’s featured pieces during their gatherings. The members participate in activities designed to aid their mental health recovery. These activities range from painting watercolors to doing Tai Chi to having cooking demonstrations.

“Art can soothe the soul and revive the spirit. We offer the opportunity for “Jammers” to explore their creative sides and tell a little about themselves through several media. Something they might not often get to do in other settings,” said Gilbert Gragert, a volunteer instructor for the program.

Sue, who has attended the group for about two years, enjoys getting out of the house to socialize. She cares for her father, who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease.

“I like the relaxation the art provides,” she said, as she glued magazine images to her collage.

Another group participant, Robb, explained his very personal connection to his art. “I’ve said that art has always been there for me. It is the one thing that has never failed to express the pain or joy – and carry me through hard times,” he said.

At one Clubhouse meeting, local musicians Ross Grotbeck and Tom Sorensen played guitar. The performance turned into a sing-along. A member requested the musicians play “The Weight,” a song popularized by The Band.

“When she started singing, she knocked our socks off,” said Clubhouse Recovery Coordinator Judy Gulden. “We had no idea she could sing like that.”

It’s that kind of individuality that Clubhouse organizers hope to draw out in all of its participants. The art exhibit, Robb said, will be a perfect opportunity to do just that. “I think this upcoming exhibit is exciting because it will showcase the talents of people who struggle with various disabilities, but have taken a chance to share their gift with anyone willing to look or listen. That takes courage!”

Those interested in entering the exhibit are encouraged to contact Judy Gulden, Clubhouse Recovery Coordinator, at (651) 439-8368 or You may also download an Art Exhibit Poster and Art Exhibit Entry Form.

Clubhouse Recovery is a program of Canvas Health, an agency offering mental health services in nine clinic locations throughout the Twin Cities, in addition to providing statewide services including suicide prevention phone and text lines.

This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.