Announcing the 2016 EPIC Awards (Exceptional People Impacting the Community) on May 18th.

This year's honorees are:

  • Jamey Eisenberg - 3rd Annual Award for Philanthropy
  • Herb Franks - Health Educator, Henderson Behavioral Health
  • Kristi Jones & Staff - Program Supervisor, In-Custody Behavioral Services Division Department of Community Programs, Broward Sheriff's Office
  • Judge Nicholas "Nick" Lopane - Unified Family Court Division, 17th Judicial Court
  • Abby Mosher - Founder/Executive Director, Tomorrow's Rainbow
  • Commissioner Lois Wexler - Broward County Commissioner District 5
  • Nellie Bly - 1st Annual Award for Journalism

9Muses is featuring "Playing with a Full Deck" playing cards. Each card is an work of art created by its members. Cards sell for $10.00 a deck and proceeds benefit the Mental Health Association of Southeast Florida.. 

Sally S Clay
August 4, 1941  - April 4, 2016


Upon hearing of the passing of Sally Clay, Broward County, Florida Judge Ginger Lerner-Wren commented, “I’m very sorry to hear this news. Sally made a tremendous contribution to the world and to justice! A civil rights & consumer rights giant. It’s a terrible loss.”

In 1980 when the State of Maine developed its Client Rights, which were in essence privileges, not rights. Sally testifies before the State Legislature giving them a “lesson” in English which resulted in Sally being asked to help draw up the first official Client Rights for the State.  She followed that up by writing and narrating a slide presentation in 1981about the stigma of mental illness. It was used in university settings for psychology and social work classes as well as the general public, and is referenced today.  Sally was chosen to be the Consumer Expert and Representative for the Sanbourne vs.Chiles class action lawsuit regarding the care being provided to the residents of South Florida State Hospital.

Sally’s two final contributions were in the State of Florida.  She was one of three consumers to write the proposal for the SAMHSA research about the efficacy of all- consumer-run programs and their impact on recovery and well-being when added to traditional services.  The results are described in On Our Own Together with Sally as the editor.  Sally had a role in three of the four drop-in-centers in the research study, Portland Coalition in Maine, Peer Center in Florida and Mental Health Client Action Network in California. She also worked on another federally funded project for Polk County Mental Health, known as WOW, Women of Wonder, for mothers serving prison sentences.

THE ART OF MAKING ART


Inspiration does exist, but it must find you working - Pablo Picasso
A conversation with Nicole Storrs, Ceramicist Instructor at the art center is fun, fast, energetic and full of ideas; A reflection of the artist and her work.
Nicole has been creating art for a long time, she dates it back to birth. When asked why she keeps producing work, the response  was enthusiastic. “It is still fun!. The process is fun, reverse engineering on other people's work is fun. It is the coolest, it keeps me going.”
This months show did not start with brush nor pencil. They are images made with painters tape. They were sliced with an X-acto knife and laid out in different orientations. After painting, they were given a clear coat. “The coat takes it up a notch”
One of the tools Nicole uses to find inspiration is a swap file. A swap file is a collection of art images and ideas, kept in a scrapbook or other places. “I like to put my swap files on the wall so that I always have something to inspire me” says Nicole.
If there is one thought that Nicole would like to share with other artists, it is to “Do something with your time. One of the most satisfying things in my work is knowing I sold something, something that I created and it is out in the world because I made the time to produce it.”
Looking at Nicole’s body of work it was, and is, time well spent.

Giving Hand to Hand


Thanksgiving is in the details says Marches' Gallery Muses Olivia Fears. She gives thanks to the viewers looking at her work by putting numbers by every line to keep count of each and every wrinkle. She is mindful of anatomy and her thankfulness can be seen by her choice of paper, as she puts it, "I like a watercolor paper that can take my attacks". She is particular in her choice of paints. As a watercolorists Olivia finds fluidness, moving from translucence to opaqueness. A self-taught artist, Olivia often breaks the rules of technique. "In watercolor you usually start from light colors and end with darker ones. I like to start with darker colors. It helps me see more of the highlights."

Creating paintings for a show has its challenges. Olivia sees realistic images in the details. As she puts it, "finishing is about perfection." She has to be aware, in her creative impulses, not to overwork the paintings. "It would effect the work." She likes to focus more on the experience. "I ask myself how is the painting making me feel? What are my thoughts? What questions is the work asking me? I try to find the answers". Olivia Fears' answers are intriguing indeed.

A Muses Story

Lois Cleary has a very special place within the art studio. On her 20th anniversary, she has the perspective of years as a member, studio staff and employee of the Mental Health Association of Southeast Florida. "My daughter is a mental health consumer and we went to this new art studio called Hot Sketch (the precursor of 9Muses) where I met Jan Anastasio, the program director. Hot Sketch became 9Muses Art Center and Lois went from being a member to being an employee. "Jan taught me so much. I remember a woman came in agitated and incoherent. But Jan took her into the office and listened to her. Lois continues "in a conversation with Jan afterwards, Jan said "It is so hard when you know something happened to you but no one will listen, I know what that is like". Jan made me realize that everyone has a story to tell and they are valid. Lois has many stories like this to tell.


As for how far the center has come? "9Muses Art Center has broadened far beyond its founding; It has grown in outreach and programming. It has deeper meaning to the community, it has affected lives intimately. The center is not just a place of art; it is a place of healing.

The Art of Seeing


When does the shape of a thing become the object of a thing? When does the curve of an arch become an expansive bridge across a valley or the entrance of a building? For Gallery Muse George Glover, art is looking deeper. "When drawing a chair, I don't see a chair, I see angles and shapes. That is what I paint and what the chair becomes."


George Clover, a native of Pompano Beach, FL, is an artist among artists. "My brothers and I would have contests to see who drew something the best." At home we started watching Bob Ross and other painting instructors on a television series."


Around ten years ago George began coming to the art center where he studied with past art instructors Peter Coccuza and later Shane Weaver. As ceramics instructor Nicole Storrs describes it; "It's all about the physical form, he does both painting and sculpture well. It is interesting how 2d art helps 3d art. When you can create depth of 
surface and light source on a flat surface it shows how depth and light affects a sculpture.


As current art instructor Pam Alaniz describes Georges' work: "He has a unique style. I have watched him perfect his craft over the last four to five years and I am amazed by how beautiful his work is."


George describes his own technique; "In choosing an object, I look for darkness and light, I look for shape. Self Portraits are exercise for the craft of art as physical exercise is for the body. How you see things, the way you see things, which technique you use creates the image."

Community builds a toolbox  

October 21st, 2016

For twenty years 9Muses Art Center has been in this community to provide place and comfort for people who needed it. A creative place to explore ways to improve life, for people trying to lift themselves from many challenges. And so like any homecoming, any family reunion, this community has come together to produce the show you see today. Production had the energy of an old fashion barn raising. Many different people doing many different activities; the snipping sound of multiple scissors carving through calendars, books and magazines (shredded across the floor): The cries for more glue as they layered image after image onto cardboard boxes.  Many people (instructors and students) were on hand to provide support, advise and listen to frustrated artists trying to figure out how to get things to stick to their boxes. There was also the laughter and chatter of members enjoying the process and commenting on each other’s work.

Wellness Assembly, in short is community in action, modeling the mission of this center, you are invited to take the time, explore the toolboxes not only for what they mean to the members, but also what they mean to you.   

"Welcome to Prune Valley!"
The Artwork of Susan Prowler
“An idea is salvation by imagination” - Frank Lloyd Wright
“The Earth without art is just, Eh" - Andy Warhol

By her nature, Susan Prowler explores the world of the imagination. To her, Prune Valley is not just images; it is a housing development of the mind. In it there are separate neighborhoods complete with different styles of housing. There is a philosophy of lifestyle, as Susan puts it, “This is a community you want to live in, reminiscent of the 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s.” There is one important rule to living there. You have to be nice. In Prune Valley there is even a house that is haunted.

Susan’s work on the wall is a form of conceptual art trending in idealism. The Tate Gallery defines conceptual art as “Art for which the idea (or concept) behind the work is more important than the finished art object.”

The genesis of this project started over a year ago in Pamela Alaniz’s drawing class. Susan recalls, “It took me forever to see how to draw a box, Skip Gauvreau would not give up on showing me different ways to approach it. I left art behind for some time to go to work and when that was done, I came back to the comfort of everyone at 9Muses Art Center. I worked on drawing boxes from every angle and every perspective possible. The boxes turned into buildings, which turned into houses and the city of Prune Valley emerged.”

And so welcome to a dream, to a place of imagination.

Welcome to Prune Valley...

HOPE (Human Occupation through People’s Environments)


Presented by:
Morgan Dowd
Jaclyn Lynch
Karen Rodriguez

HOPE; A mural made of mixed was media presented at 9Muses, collaborated with Occupational Therapist students from South University. The mural represents the eight occupations of human life. Depicted are the activities of daily living (ADLs), instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs), work, education, sleep and rest, social participation, leisure and finally play. If you look closely this mural exhibits all eight occupations.

(view slide show for project start to finish)

Artwork Created by Skip Gauvreau


It has been a year since Skip Gauvreau had his first solo show and he has been busy.  He is on the Board of Directors for MHA of Southeast Florida as 9Muses Art Center’s member representative, he has participated in health fairs, Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) and attended classes to expand his knowledge on mental health issues, and he has performed with the Muses Band in the Creativity Café. As Skip puts it; “I am truly grateful for 9Muses and how it has helped turned my life in a positive direction…I have been able to give back to the community.”

Skip has been busy exploring art too. New media and techniques, including painting in 2D/3D, using molding paste. Learning new techniques in acrylics, watercolors and pastels, expressing what he’s learned in class. “I see the progress I have made. I see things with a different perception. I like to deconstruct what I see and change things around in my work.” All we can say is “WELL DONE!”

Monica Salzman - Freedom in Color Solo Exhibit

There is a common story members tell of first time visits to 9Muses Art Center, it is not always easy to get yourself through the door. This month’s Gallery Artist Monica Salzman tells the story of when her daughter suggested her coming to the center, she was not easily sold. “Who goes there? “she responded.

“I never drew before. I was going through the most difficult time in my life and I was not comfortable (around people) I was scared when I first came here. But from the beginning it was a miracle. I found happiness, there was a space for me and I found a place to be free.

At first Monica’s work was done in gray and black tones but grew into an explosion of colors in the paintings seen in the gallery today. An avid follower of art and artists. She is influenced by such artists as Modigliani, and Pablo Picasso.  Perhaps her strongest influences are two south American artists; In the works of Romero Britto she finds bold lines. “I watched a video of him using thick markers and I thought if he could do it, I could do it.” You can also see the Uruguayan artist Carlos Paez Vilaro in her work. Both of these artists reflect afro-south American tribal culture.

Acrylic paints are used throughout Monica’s work.  Vibrant, complimentary colors in harmony with each other. They are painted in blocks that are almost tribalistic in feel.

So Monica comes to the center. She has struggled through challenges here. She is healthy, old friends have gone while new friends have arrived and she feels she is healing the little girl she once was.
As she puts it, “My Circumstances are the same, but my colors are happy.” 

Holiday Art Sale and Showcase


Lots of fun in the sun and great gifts were admired and sold. This was an opportunity to showcase the work of members and the significant effect of creativity on the mind and body. Members abilities increase, even in those that had no previous experience with art or it's various forms and were convinced that their engagement would prove futile. Giving and sharing for the gift of mental wellness and behavioral health is the ultimate inspiration within this community.

“The Art of Playing with a Full Deck” - By 9Muses Artists

Earlier this year, the artists of the center were asked to create original works for an innovative fundraiser titled “Playing with a Full Deck”. The result was a unique deck of cards that had its debut during the 2016 EPIC Awards (Exceptional People Impacting the Community) in May 2016. This month’s exhibit incorporates a selection of the original works that make our limited edition deck of playing cards so beautiful. We would like you to take the time to look at the images, and you will find stories in each card. Some tell the tale of struggle, of stigma exposed, of humor and whimsy and others simply state the power and beauty of the creative mind.

The criteria for the call made to artists for the project was “Mental Health - A Goal for Everyone”. The art could be 2D or 3D, drawing, painting and photography. Design and concept were to express personal styles, techniques and imagination. In house members were encouraged to write a story, poem or create a performance piece.

The history of playing cards is long and varied, from Egypt, through France and England. The story of our community varies from people just looking for support, searching paths to recovery or finding a place to be and escape loneliness. Through the artistic process, artists are lifted from the challenges that life has dealt them, transcending struggles weighing down on the spirit. (In short, they play.)

So in the end, we all play the hand that life deals us. Some of us simply do so, more creatively.

The Art of Discovery


When Roland (he goes by Skip) Gauvream first came to 9Muses Art Center, he first needed to discover a place to unload a lifetime of struggle with fear, social anxiety, and depression caused by trauma when he became his mother’s caretaker at the age of 10. He came for the support groups (“They gave me the toolbox to recover”) but then came, completely out of left field, a surprise. Skip is a talented artist.

 On display this month is the work of an artist who has only been painting for less than a year.  As Skip puts it, “I started to improve when I stopped having unrealistic expectations and just started having fun.” It is then that the artist developed.

 What has developed is work full of color in floral and fauna and human portraiture. In his process, Skip likes to research. Art Instructor Pamela Alaniz has shown him art books and other media. As Skip puts it, “ I am looking for new ideas  on how to create art in all kind of forms. I am influenced by images in stained glass.” In the future, Skip wants to develop skills in 3D rendering.

 Skip is both excited and anxious about the show. “I am so surprised that this has happened”. He discovered his art and in the process he has grown in self-esteem. The year may have started with trauma and burdens, but Skip wants people to know. “Its been a very good year”

Folding Like the Wind - Origami Exhibit


Richard Aldret was born in Homestead Florida. He started out as a performance artist and moved on some years later to the position of Creative Director of Wannado City Theme Park.

Richard was always a creative person. He came to the center ten years ago and was offered a job. He has been an asset to the organization teaching Poetry, Acting, Voice, Dance and several support groups

Richard found origami to be very therapeutic and relaxing except, Rick exclaims; “When it becomes very irritating.”

This is Richard’s first solo show which includes geometric clusters with an outer worldly feel, mounted and framed, along with rose clusters, a family of penguins, seahorses, and a cat and mouse.

Richard has developed discipline, tenacity and patience and even folds at home after a full days work, hence the name “Folding like the Wind”.

One of Richard’s featured pieces is named, ”Where’d You Go Major Tom?” “You’ve just got to keep folding and you will be surprised at what you can create from simple paper.”

Lifetime Achievement Award


Congratulations to Marcia Pinck a long time employee of the Mental Health Association of Southeast Florida and invaluable advocate for the mental health community providing education and awareness. 

Nova Southeastern University


Health Professions Division visited the center and engaged members by creating planters with all the necessary materials included. Headed by Max A. Ito, Ph.D., Associate Professor in the Occupational Therapy Department: The project was enjoyed by members and added yet another fun activity for participants. Thank you to all of the Nova students for their commitment and creativity.

Exciting news!! Art Display in Health Professions Division to Benefit Mental Health Programs. Check out this announcement at Nova University's web site:  https://nsunews.nova.edu

20 Years of Wellness at 9Muses


Celebrated on Friday October 28th and what a party it was. Members fashioned their fitted togas created at the center and a costume contest was not an easy decision for the judges. Along with great music from our DJ Pat Kennedy, fabulous food and drink were enjoyed by all. 

News and Latest Events - Improve Mental and Behavioral Health through Art

Adult mental health art center unique works of art sale

Orchids: By Request

Where flowers bloom, so does hope. - Lady Bird Johnson.

The exhibit in this gallery is not just images of pretty flowers, it is also a dialogue between the studio's family and the community. It is a story of how one person, or person’s request became an opportunity to explore a variety of artistic techniques in a variety of styles and for some, an opportunity to exhibit for the first time. The seed for the show began with a request by Dr. Andrea Sciberras, of Sciberras Internal Medicine Inc., Dania Beach who displays 9Muses art pieces in her office. She asked Chris Yoculan, Director of Adult Services, MHA of Southeast Florida, if she could have images of flowers for her practice so that patients could have a calming experience while in the waiting room. Chris brought the request to the Muses. The response was prolific.  read more

Students from Nova Southeastern University Occupational Therapy Program


worked together to bring a special wellness project to members which involved the creation of personal recovery wheels  with a list of coping tools and also aided them in creating collages with pictures that bring members joy or happy reminders.

It was lots of fun for all participants. Each person also had the opportunity to create their own stress balls made from flour and rice and hand decorated. We offer our gratitude and congratulations to each student for a job well done:

  • Lexi Fox
  • Aaron Miller
  • Courtney Atias
  • Aimee Denne
  • Alexa Burke

9Muses Art Center

Life with a Mental Illness - B4Stage4 initiative


​May is Mental Health Month, and the Mental Health Association of Southeast Florida is recognizing this month with a message of hope and opportunity. When mental disorders are talked about, the language typically used to describe them tends to be clinical and impersonal. These words, while useful for clinicians, often don't do justice to what life with a mental illness feels like. That is why this year's theme — for May is Mental Health Month is Mental Health Month-"Life With a Mental Illness" — is a call to action to share what life with a mental illness feels like to someone going through it.
May is Mental Health Month was started 67 years ago by Mental Health Association of Southeast Florida's national organization,

Mental Health America, to raise awareness about mental conditions and the importance of good mental health for everyone. Last year, mental health materials were seen and used by 19 million people, with more than 5,500 entities downloading MHA's toolkits. The 2015 theme — based on off of our B4Stage4 initiative — helped individuals understand that when you address mental health symptoms before Stage 4, people can often recover quickly and live full and productive lives.

Read more about B4Stage4 Sunsentinel written by Paul Jaquith


The Wellness Project

Members have been called to participate in the "Wellness Project" where each member creates their own wellness box provided by the center. Each participant attaches pictures, encouraging statements and memorabilia to refer to for additional support at their fingertips.