A person’s mental health cannot depend solely on clinical care. It is strengthened through communal support and open dialogue with family, friends, and neighbors. Also, a community’s health is enhanced by improving social relationships and expanding social networks. To destigmatize mental illness, we support and connect the following groups:
COMMUNITY BASED ORGANIZATIONS
Community Based Organizations—local providers of mental health services—are our anchor in the community and the launch point to engage residents and other local organizations. We aim to support their organizational goals, increase their presence in a community, and provide opportunities to share their work with all New Yorkers.
MENTAL HEALTH CONSUMERS
Mental Health Consumers—people receiving behavioral health services for a mental illness or addiction—live, work, and thrive in our communities. Our workshops, community engagement events, and mural design process offer a platform to share their lived experiences, capabilities, and skills with the rest of the community.
The Community—its families, residents, and workers—ground our project in a neighborhood, ensuring the murals are by and for the communities we work with. By supporting local arts and reimagining what mental illness looks like, community members give their neighborhood a mural that reflects who they are. It’s a lasting reminder of the work we can do together.
Sunset Park Muralist
Born and raised in Reading, Pennsylvania, Julia Cocuzza is a Brooklyn-based painter, muralist, designer, print maker, and educator. She is working with NYCMAP in Sunset Park. Her paintings capture the loaded intersections, layers, and fragments of daily living, with a particular affection for urban structures and systems, human interaction, music, and obsolete media. Although she has shown and galleries and sold to private collections throughout the Northeast, community-driven public art has been her focus of recent years. She current works as Lead Teaching Artist for Groundswell Community Mural Project where she has led over a dozen community murals throughout New York City, including seven projects on Riker’s Island, collaborating with incarcerated youth through every stage of the process to convey messages of hope and social justice. She has partnered with other organizations to create public art, including Sing For Hope Pianos, Mural Arts Philadelphia, and Thrive Collective NYC. In addition, she is an adjunct instructor and higher education administrator for the City University of New York. She holds a BFA from Syracuse University, MFA from Brooklyn College, and has received artist residencies from Prairie Center for the Arts (Peoria, IL) and Wassaic Art Project (Wassaic, NY).
Staten Island Muralist
Alice Mizrachi is a New York based artist, working with NYCMAP in Staten Island. Her practice includes work as a muralist, fine artist, educator, and curator. Mizrachi explores both the spiritual and physical dimensions of being human, and in particular, female. Often times, the female figure in various mythical iterations intersects with earthbound feminine forms as a means to communicate social consciousness. Mizrachi’s intentions include the empowerment of self and others through artistic expression, as well as advocacy for women, youth, and the environment. Alice has worked with multiple organizations, including: BRIC Arts, The Laundromat Project, The Studio Museum, HI-ARTS, Miami Light Project, Brown University, and The Devos Institute. Her artwork has been featured at the Museum of the City of New York, the National Women’s Museum and Albright-Knox Museum; and, in a variety of publications. Alice received a BFA from Parsons School of Design and grants from The Puffin Foundation and The Ford Foundation.
2018/2019 COMMUNITY-BASED PARTNERS
Baltic Street AEH
Baltic Street, AEH, Inc. is a peer-run not-for-profit corporation dedicated to improving the quality of life for people living with mental illness. Located in New York City, their recovery-oriented services help recipients obtain jobs, housing, social supports, education, vocational training, entitlements, and other life-enhancing services. Baltic Street, AEH, Inc. believes that individuals can and do recover from mental illness. We work to support recovery efforts and to decrease the stigma and alienation related to mental health diagnoses. We believe that all persons should be treated with respect and compassion, and we value the rights of all persons to transform their lives.
Venture House is a non-profit, community based mental health agency, serving adults diagnosed with serious mental illness. They support individuals in finding quality of life through improved access to education, employment, community engagement, and a lifetime of meaningful social connection.
Venture House utilizes the Clubhouse approach to psychosocial rehabilitation, which is a unique model rooted in the notion that engagement in purposeful activity brings meaning to life and promotes health and wellness. To that end, members of the Clubhouse work side by side with staff to run day-to-day operations, including facility maintenance, culinary, clerical, program planning and development, as well as advocacy and recreation. Members are involved in all aspects of decision-making, including on the Board level.