The White Plains Examiner

Artwork by Mental Health Community Showcased in White Plains

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Some of the artwork created by the mental health community that is being exhibited through Sept. 12 at ArtsWestchester in White Plains in the “Visions 2019: ‘Art Defined?” program. Neal Rentz Photo

New Rochelle resident Ricardo Santos said last week that there are public misconceptions about mental illness.

“Mental illness is not a sin. Mental illness is not a crime,” Santos said.

Santos has two of his abstract paintings on display in “Visions 2019: ‘Art Defined?” which is being held through Sept. 12 at ArtsWestchester in White Plains. The exhibition is a partnership between ArtsWestchester, Westchester County and the Rockland County Psychiatric Center.

Santos said painting allows him to “release my depression and anxiety.”

This year is the third year that Santos’ works have been displayed at the exhibit.

The annual exhibition lets the public know that “we are capable of going to the next level,” Santos said.

Valhalla resident Jessy Mendez, the program manager at ArtsWestchester, said the Visions exhibit has been held for over 30 years. ArtsWestchester has had a partnership with the Westchester County Department of Community Mental Health on the exhibit and other projects including artist-in-residence programs at local mental health facilities in which professional teaching artists work with the population of the facilities, she said.

To have their work included in the annual exhibit a person receiving mental health services in Westchester needed to contact the appropriate person in the agency where they are receiving assistance, Mendez said.

“There’s definitely a lot of visual artworks,” including watercolors, acrylics, oil paintings, three dimensional pieces, jewelry and clothing being presented in this year’s exhibition, Mendez said. “We try to keep it very open. Whatever avenue someone chooses to express themselves creatively we like to support it,” she said.

Mendez said having their works on display is gratifying to the artists. “Anyone who gets the opportunity to showcase their work in a professional setting as we have here is a really a great self-esteem booster. It helps provide them with the assurance that they’re on the right path,” she said.

White Plains resident Anthony Dickstein had his mechanical art displayed at the exhibit. Mechanical art uses “everything that has to do with moving parts,” Dickstein said.

Dickstein said he wanted to be part of the exhibition because he wanted to display his artwork. “My teacher expects a lot of me,” he said.

“It is very exciting” to have my work presented to the public, Dickstein said. “I get enjoyment just from people seeing different pieces, seeing my art and just being able to see this beautiful building in general,” he said.

The exhibit lets the public understand that “regardless of what someone’s diagnosis is they are more than that. They have hopes and dreams like everyone else and we’d like to be able to provide that showcase to the community,” Mendez said. “That is the reason that it is so popular.”

ArtsWestchester is located at 31 Mamaroneck Ave. in White Plains. For more information about the exhibit call 914-428-4220 or visit

Gallery hours are Tuesday through Friday from noon to 5 p.m. and from noon to 6 p.m. on Saturday.

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