Athelas Institute, Inc.

Providing Opportunities for Achievement and Growth

Art Therapy






The Art Therapy program at Athelas serves between 80 and 100 artist-individuals each week at the Community Resource Center, The Behavioral Communication Resource Center, Experiences Unlimited and The Gwynn Oak Center in a schedule consisting of nine visual arts classes and two music appreciation classes.  The visual arts classes, four of which are offered through the Community College of Baltimore County, Catonsville,  include an increasing exposure to three-dimensional media such as clay, wood and styrofoam sculpture, as well as traditional two-dimensional media such as watercolors, acrylics, oil pastels, markers and colored pencil.


The artists of Athelas Institute, Inc., create fresh, original and personally authentic artworks with expressive power and poingnancy.  Refelctive of their unique life experiences, individuals qualitatively embody an evolving personal style of expression.  Encouraged to explore new ideas and images, they make their own choices of various media and formats that best suit their needs both aesthetic and psychological.

The success of the Art Therapy Program at Athelas is the result of a philosophy of art-making and personality development that posits each individual as naturally self expressive and creative.  When given the opportunity and consistent support, individuals will exercise their abilities, defining themselves as valuable and productive contributors to the community and culture.  they choose to be seen for their multiple abilities, rather than be defined by the narrowness of their disabilities.   Our Art Therapy Coordinator, Michael Patton, has over 26 years of experience in the field of art therapy and holds a B.A. from Rhodes College, an M.A. from the University of Illinois and an M.F.A. from Maryland Institute, College of Art.

These artists share the results of their art abilities with everyone and by choosing to develop their skills and styles, set an inspiring example of the human potential and achievement; a wonderful example to be appreciated and emulated.  Trusting in the simple fact that for each individual there is a unique style of expression and that with patience and posititive appreciation, good outcomes will result.  This is the working method of the Athelas Art Therapy Program.

Many of our individuals have experienced a world in which most choices are made for them;  what to wear, when and what to eat, when to sleep, where to go, even what to say or see.  Given the opportunity to claim complete artistic and psychological ownership of a process, a workspace and an evolving self-determined project is a profound act of identification, exciting the imagination and affirming self-esteem.  Self expression, is also a basic human right and the world is impoverished when that opportunity is denied.  As adults, these artists have a lifetime of experience to reflect, celebrate and express.  At Athelas Institute, we make that possibility a reality.

Any donations of art supplies, old paintings for recycling, art frames, wooden furniture for re-painting, flat files, light tables, easels, nature magazines or books, National Geographics, etc. would help that future development and be greatly appreciated.

In loving memory of Lulu, the dog  

Lulu attended each Art Therapy session for 6 years, proudly serving as a therapy dog.  Sadly, we lost her to old age.  Her absence is still felt by Athelas staff and individuals alike.