The Bridge Group Artists at The Museum of Modern Art: “Finding Center”
By William Jiang, MLS
On the evening of Wednesday, February 10, 2016 I attended the opening of The Bridge Group Artists at MoMA on 54th Street. The display will be ongoing from February 1st through February 28th.
In attendance at the opening was Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, who has been supporting The Bridge for many years. She even mentioned she supported The Bridge when its original director, Dr. Murray Itzkowitz (who served The Bridge for 31 years as Executive Director, and then ED Emeritus until his passing in 2013), worked there. Carrie McGee, the assistant director of MoMA’s Community and Access Program spoke, as did Cynthia Wainwright, President of The Bridge. Susan Wiviott, The Bridge's CEO had glowing words for the artists. Karen Johnson, affiliated with the 5th Avenue Presbyterian Church, spoke, as did Judith Rosenthal, the director of The Bridge's art program. Ms. Rosenthal talked about how The Bridge artists are unafraid to experiment with their art and how the act of creating art in a safe place can be very healing.
Leilani Yizar eulogized long-time artist and mentor at The Bridge, James Sneed. You could tell that Ms. Yizar was very emotional about Mr. Sneed’s passing, a fitting memorial for a man who donated twenty-six years of his life to a cause he believed in. Also, The Bridge artists Scott, Glen, Michael and Patricia spoke at the event, giving interesting perspectives about the art they created.
It turns out that The Bridge Group Artists, under the direction of art therapist Judith Raskin Rosenthal, ATR, evolved from The Bridge Art Therapy Program. This program provides a safe, supportive and therapeutic environment in which The Bridge clients can express themselves artistically and develop essential social skills.
The Bridge changes lives by providing help, hope and opportunity to the most vulnerable in New York City. The Bridge offers a comprehensive range of services to ensure that the 2,300 men and women who come to them for help each year receive the assistance they need to lead stable, healthy and productive lives. The Bridge is more than just housing. They help individuals with a serious mental illness, the formerly homeless, young adults aging out of foster care and veterans. They also have creative arts therapy that helps clients explore their creative side and develop a healthy way to process and express their emotions. Tonight's event allowed a number of The Bridge artists to shine at one of the most prestigious museums of art in New York and the world, the Museum of Modern Art. Bravo!