Kane County Specialty Courts host art show for mental health, substance abuse recovery

John Higareda, a participant in the Kane County Specialty Court program, was a featured artist in the the court's mental health and addiction recovery art show that took place May 29 at the Kane County Judicial Center.

The Kane County Specialty Courts held an art show May 29 at the Kane County Judicial Center aimed at assisting individuals battling mental health and substance abuse issues.

The event showcased artwork created by participants in the specialty courts programs. It was a moving collection of paintings, sculptures and mixed-media pieces, according to a news release from the 16th Judicial Circuit.

“The art show is [a] wonderful way for our participants to express themselves and to participate in a sober social activity,” Judge Christine Downs, who presides over the Kane County Drug Court, Mental Health Court and Veterans Treatment Court, said in the release. “The level of talent was impressive and the brutal honesty of some of the pieces was inspiring.”

Art is a unique way for individuals to explore and share their emotions and it can be healing, DUI Treatment Court and Veterans Court Coordinator Philip Wessel said in the release.

The event drew a supportive crowd, including family members, friends and community leaders, all there to celebrate the resilience and creativity of the artists, according to the release.

“Creating art has given me a sense of wholeness and a way to process my feelings,” said John Higareda, a participant in the program and one of the featured artists, in the release. “It’s been a crucial part of dealing with my mental health and I’m grateful for the support and encouragement I’ve received from the Kane County Veterans Courts.”

The success of the art show highlights the positive impact that community support and creative outlets can have on individuals in recovery, according to the release.

“Events like these not only showcase the incredible talents of our participants, but also remind us of the importance of compassion, understanding and the arts in building a healthier, more supportive community,” Judge Rene Cruz said in the release.