Anna Smith, Director of Development at Pathway Homes, prepares to install the Linoleum Block Printing, David’s Resting Head by Sue. (Last name withheld by request.)
Photo by Mercia Hobson.
Purple Piece, Organ, Lion Pride, City Lights, Violent Behavior. These are names of some of the 30 works of art presented in Pathway Homes' Summer of the Arts 2020 on display at the Vienna Arts Society gallery, located at 513 Maple Avenue West #1. The Society donated use of its gallery space to Pathway Homes, a nonprofit based in Fairfax that serves residents from across the County. The display showcases the raw beauty and creative powers of the artists who are the consumers that Pathway Homes serve.
According to the Pathway Homes website, the nonprofit organization provides: "services to adults with severe mental illnesses and/or co-occurring disorders, including substance abuse or intellectual disabilities, in two ways: We situate individuals with a history of homelessness in supported housing, and we provide supportive services to others, allowing them to retain their own housing."
"We are exhibiting...works by 14 artists," said Liz Susla nonprofit consultant. Most works are for sale with all proceeds going to the artists. The exhibit honors Karen Free, a Pathway Homes resident and artist who passed away in 2011.
This year's selections represent a broad range of types and styles created by the artists. For many, creative expression through drawing, painting, block printing, fabric art, and more provided a therapeutic outlet for expressing and understanding their mental state.
"Through art, I find hope and strength," said Artist Brittany. "My art is based on joy," said Artist Robert. “[Art] helps me get out of myself. Being able to transcend fear and sadness to create a work of art has given me a lot of hope," said Artist Sue.
Artwork can be viewed and purchased at the Vienna Arts Society gallery and the virtual gallery at sota.pathwayhomes.org. The exhibit runs through July 30, with most works available for purchase. "Every year we've been very blessed to be donated space for our exhibits," said Anna Smith, Director of Development, Pathway Homes. "Purchasers must leave the works for the duration of the show...Aug. 1 is the pick-up. Pathway can ship works at cost to the purchasers," she said.
According to the Pathway Homes website, "Through our HOUSING FIRST model of care, Pathway Homes served 1,268 men and women in 2019 with 345 permanent supportive housing units. Our services are cost-effective for the community with a significant savings to Northern Virginia compared to the costs of incarceration or hospitalization. Most importantly, the services we provide help ensure that those in need to not "fall through the cracks....92 percent of Pathway residents remain out of psychiatric hospitals... 89 percent of Pathway residents remain out of medical hospital beds...93 percent of Pathway residents remain in permanent housing during the year...93 percent of Pathway residents are satisfied with the services they receive."