Goodwill Featured in Goodwill Industries International’s Publication: GoodwillTODAY

November 4, 2013, GoodwillTODAY

[(Reprinted with Permission. GoodwillTODAY, November 4, 2013, a publication of Goodwill Industries International (GII.)]

Johnstown Goodwill Hosts Art Exhibit Featuring Recovering Artists

On October 24, Goodwill of the Southern Alleghenies (Johnstown, PA) joined forces with the Bottle Works Ethnic Arts Center to host The Art of Recovery, an art exhibit celebrating the journey to mental health and wellness. More than 80 guests attended the event, including practitioners, family members, participants and community members.

Rhonda Szarka_Art of RecoveryThe idea was born during a creative coping group art class at the Johnstown Goodwill’s Recovery and Community Integration Program. The class offered a variety of activities as outlets to coping with stress. One particular activity involved participants using several donated windows as canvases for their own stained glass window creations. Inspired by the participants’ artwork, the agency’s staff contacted the Bottle Works to assist with organizing an exhibit that would showcase their students’ talents to the community.

Each piece of artwork was displayed with an accompanying biography of the artists describing the role that art has played in their recovery from mental illness and in building skills in living, learning, working and community involvement. Pieces on display included a crocheted blanket, painted windows, photography, professional pen and ink pieces, jewelry and decorative beadwork.

President and CEO of Goodwill of the Southern Alleghenies Phyllis Bandstra said, “Through this art exhibit, our artists have expressed what is inside each one of them and brought it alive, or outside, to us as a means of healing and growing. Their work is truly a demonstration of passion and expression of self.”

Artists were in attendance to speak with the guests about their work. The participants also had the opportunity to sell their pieces, thus giving them an opportunity to support their financial goals.

The featured speaker for the event, Rhonda Szarka, shared her journey through recovery from being a resident in a state mental hospital to working with the Johnstown Goodwill as a mental health peer specialist.

“Through our art, we have tried to express how we see our world and our place in it. All of us are on a journey of recovery and each of us is moving at his or her own pace and ability. Art provides us with relaxation to relieve the stressors in our lives,” said Szarka in her address to the attendees.

“Goodwill’s programming is geared toward empowerment and recovery of the individual on whatever level possible. It is a philosophy of treating others with dignity and respect. Goodwill not only talks the talk, but they walk the walk, and they hire and find employment for individuals who have both mental and physical challenges that others would see as barriers to employment.”

As a result of the positive impact that The Art of Recovery had on both participants and guests, planning for the next event is already underway. The goal is to make the art show an annual event.

Online Shopping at Goodwill

Through the Shopgoodwill online auction site, you can experience a fun and exciting way to shop for specialty items such as one-of-a-kinds, collectibles, antiques, estate pieces, jewelry, nostalgic items, and more!

At Goodwill of the Southern Alleghenies, we know that our donors value their donations to Goodwill and want us to get the maximum value possible to support our mission. Listing these items on Shopgoodwill allows us to generate more revenue because these items go to the highest bidders who know the values of the items.

Donors can be sure that the revenue generated from the sale of their donated items on will support job training and employment services for people in their community – just as it does through purchases made in our 10 Goodwill Retail Stores.