SANTA MONICA — Local artists Patrick Marston and Michael Brunt gave art lessons to residents of the Clare Matrix Addiction Treatment Center over Zoom on July 29.
The center provides treatment for women who struggle with substance abuse and associated mental health issues.
Through art the center provides a therapeutic outlet to residents; the pandemic has caused them hurdles.
“With everything being shut down and a lot of the positive activities that our participants are able to enjoy outside of receiving treatment no longer being available right now, we are seeing an increase in anxiety and depression among the participants,” said Jennifer Maduko, Development Director at Clare Matrix.
Marston and Brunt, working with the center, planned to paint a large mural with the residents, but the shutdown forced them to take the online route.
Organizers initially feared that the online workshop would lack the ability to give participants one-on-one attention.
But online apps and tools helped them connect.
In addition, large monitors and grouping participants in different rooms helped Marston and Brunt ability to clearly see everyone’s work and connect with each participant individually.
The teaching duo found it difficult to gauge the enjoyment of participants but their feedback reassured them.
“The participants definitely really loved it,” said Maduko.
The success of the virtual art workshop encouraged them to start “Inspiration Series,” a series of online workshops available to both patients and the community of Santa Monica.
The Clare Matrix center is known for its creative approaches to patient treatment, which helps them reach a wide range of women in need of support.
About 80 percent of participants in their residential program are homeless, low income, or have unstable living situations.
Volunteers interested in leading workshops as part of the Inspiration Series can contact firstname.lastname@example.org and organizations who wish to partner with them can email their applications to email@example.com.