LEWISTON – Stories, poems, music and artwork will combine for a program called “Inspired Voices – A Journey in Hope” to be presented Saturday, June 7, at the Franco-American Heritage Center.

It’s a concert and art exhibit for the benefit of Tri-County Mental Health Services. This is the third year the event has been held.

“These shows have been very successful in raising awareness of the work we do,” said Tina Clark, TCMHS’s director of development and community services. “This is a program that emphasizes hope and inspiration, but it’s also just plain good entertainment.”

Clark explained that both the art and the performances highlight the wide range of healing efforts made possible by the agency.

She said nearly two dozen people are on the program. They include several top-notch Maine performers who are volunteering their talents.

Those numbers will be augmented by original pieces in music, word and dance by several consumers of Tri- County Mental Health Services. Contributions by TCMHS consumers offer varied examples of the courage and healing experienced by individuals on their journey to recovery.

Catherine Ryder is directing “Inspired Voices.” She is clinical program director for Tri-County Mental Health Services and has been involved in many aspects of musical theater.

Sarah Oemcke, TCMHS’s certified resident art therapist, is coordinating the art exhibit. She has eight years of experience working with children on the Autism Spectrum and has worked with TCMHS for about a year.

Based at the agency’s Farmington office, she facilitates social skills groups for children ages 5 through teens.

Artwork called “From the Hospital Window” is the contribution of a 10-year-old boy who created the piece shortly after he was discharged from the hospital after a crisis.

A 12-year-old girl is showing spray paintings that she created as a collaborative effort aimed at building a trusting therapeutic relationship.

Clark said this offered the girl an opportunity to regress in the service of the ego and do things like create, finger paint and use action painting (made famous by artist Jackson Pollack).

Oemcke also said she and the girl explored a “relief” process using leaves and shapes and working with the image left in the object’s absence. The relief using leaves is called, “Golden Art” and the other is titled “A Master Mess-terpiece.”

“I Love Art” is the work of an 8-year-old that was given to Oemcke upon beginning therapy.

An example of the exhibition’s action painting is “Splatters,” a painting created by a girl who threw paint off a brush onto the paper. She used this technique as a way to deal with her anxiety and anger from being teased at school.

The exhibition also includes graphic designs by a teenage girl who is also a family member of a client suffering from Post-traumatic Stress Disorder.

Andrew Harris, executive director of L/A Arts, is master of ceremonies for the show.

The art exhibit and reception with hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar will begin at 6 p.m followed by the concert at 7 p.m.

For tickets, call L/A Arts at 782-7228 or call 755-0036, extension 105. Tickets also may be ordered online at www.laarts.org. Prices are $15 in advance, $20 at the door; $10 for students and seniors.

Tri-County Mental Health Services has office locations located throughout western Maine, serving the counties of Androscoggin, Franklin, Oxford, northern Cumberland and beyond.

The agency deals with the psychological and social well-being of children, adults and elders. Visit www.tcmhs.org for more information and to view video highlights from last year’s show.


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