Art and Mental Health Wellness Throughout Treasure Valley

Jennifer Burch (Sage’s Operations Director)

Recently I was reading a blog entitled, “Art Can Be Good for Mental Health”, by Michael Friedman (2012).  In the article it said, “Clearly, art is not the source of the greatest happiness in everyone’s life, but it is a tremendous source of happiness for a great many people…Art can be a healing force…” (Friedman, 2012). 

When you hear the word art, what comes to mind?  A painting, drawing, photograph, and/ or music?  For me, it’s all those things and more.  I believe art in any of those forms can help us to connect with our emotions.  It can be a venue for healing.  I think no matter how we participate, there is a benefit depending on our selection.  For me, there are two forms of art that are my favorite and that I find healing.  One is the natural art called nature.  Being out in nature always is a healing and peaceful event for me.  There are many ways we can enjoy nature.  For example: Hiking, taking a walk, riding a bike or simply sitting and observing the beauty and sounds.  A two-for-one benefit would be to write or draw while observing nature. The other form of art that I find healing is music. Music is made through and with emotions, but also can emotionally connect with us.  Of course, we want to choose things that would be positive, as there is always the negative side to things.  For example, choose a place in nature that is beautiful.  Do you love pine trees or water? Then go to where those things are, as you want to find areas that will resonate best with you. 

With music, if you are musically inclined you can play or write music.  If you are not, then you can listen to music.  Choose your music wisely as it can be a friend or an enemy depending on the choice.  There’s music with words that can be like the understanding friend who gets how you feel, or upbeat lyrics or rhythms that just make you feel happy listening to. Sometimes, I’ll admit, I choose a song that just lets me have a good cry.  So, see if art is a good resource for you.  Explore different options and find the one that helps you the best to bring positive benefits to your mental health. 

With this being said, there is a great opportunity coming up in our community which also gives back to the community.  It is called Empty Bowls.  Empty Bowls is a fundraiser for The Idaho Food Bank.  The event takes place on the day after Thanksgiving (November 25th) from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm in downtown Boise on the Grove Plaza.  Here is how it works: basically you pick out and purchase a bowl for $10, which has been donated prior to the event, then it is filled with yummy soup donated by local restaurants.  The funds raised by this event help to provide food assistance locally to those in need this winter.

There are a few ways to participate. You can paint, design and donate a bowl prior to this event by contacting Ceramica Paint Your Own Pottery (located in Boise) or Piggy Pigs Pottery  (located in Meridian) for more information. 

You can also go to the Empty Bowl event in November and purchase a bowl (which most likely will not be the one you made) and get some tasty soup with it.  What a fun way to enjoy art, and enhance our mental health all while helping those in need. 

#emptybowlsboise, #artformentalhealth. #mentalhealthandwellnessBoise


Friedman, Michael. (2012, August 28). Art Can Be Good for Mental Health. [Blog post]. Retrieved from