“Not everything around me can hurt me now,” says Jim Dukes.
He has a powerful weapon.
A survivor of 12 concussions and two suicide attempts who is living with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and depression, he learned to “turn the world around and see it through the lens of [his] camera,” and then he began to heal.
He is sharing his healing journey with the community in collaboration with Tapp's Art Center and Hidden Wounds, a non-profit dedicated to providing creative and artistic healing therapy for military personnel battling postwar challenges.
“The Art of Healing,” at Tapp’s Art Center is a unique exhibit which will feature Dukes’ work and include art by Columbia artists Heidi Darr-Hope, Lyssa Harvey, Sandra Carr, Mary How and others who have “found the benefit in using art to heal in their lives,” says Dukes.
As Tapp’s artist-in-residence from July through September, Dukes will assist ongoing efforts to promote healing arts programs by working with local organizations and individuals who utilize art-healing techniques.
Steven Diaz, a USMC veteran, and the Director of Strategic Partnership for Hidden Wounds explains, “Not everyone responds to psychotherapy. Everyone is different with their healing process.”
The exhibit is not limited to individuals with PTSD or TBI. “People use art to heal from a variety of things. There is a wide range of people who are actually putting work in the exhibit,” says Diaz. They are living with cancer, depression and other life-changing conditions. Work will represent a variety of mediums; including photography, mixed media, drawing, writing, and painting.
The exhibit opens Thursday, August 1st as part of First Thursdays on Main. It runs through the 31st.
Selected artwork from the exhibit will be complied into a book of photos to be released and sold at a fundraiser that closes the show on August 30 at 7 p.m. The photo book will include the participants’ experiences, as told by area writers.
Proceeds from admissions and artwork sales will benefit both Hidden Wounds and the Friends of the Tapp’s Arts Center, to advance healing through art.
“We see Tapp’s as a community center and we’re excited about the possibility to serve those individuals who seek and lead recovery through art and share examples of these proven technique with our community,” says Brenda Schwarz, executive director of Tapp’s Arts Center.
-- Karla Turner, Jasper intern