Art That Changes Lives

Artsclamation! fine art sale supports behavioral health patients

Regional artists and their creations will be in the spot- light in early December for the annual Artsclamation! fine art sale benefiting Peninsula. The event will showcase the work of 34 artists of various mediums, including paintings, sculptures, jewelry, pottery, fiber art, glass art and 2-D mixed media. The 2023 featured artist is Don Reed, a clay potter from Crab Orchard, Tennessee.

Art as Therapy

Artwork created by mental health clients in Peninsula Recovery Education Center’s therapeutic programs also will be featured at Artsclamation! Therapists in the recovery education program work with patients to aid the emotional healing process through creative expression. The participants in the Student Art Booth have all experienced mental illness and are connected in some way to Peninsula outpatient services. The artwork in the Student Art Booth includes acrylic and watercolor paintings, woodwork, handcrafts like crochet and stitching, jewelry and photography.

Lending a Hand

Tayler Janow headshot in dark suit, smiling.
Tyler Janow, Artsclamation! event chair

Tyler Janow, local business owner and philanthropist, has volunteered with the Artsclamation! event committee for the past four years. A veteran of the U.S. Army and Army Reserves, he says,“My experience working in behavioral health counseling and social work during my time in the military reinforced how important it is to have these resources.” After active duty, Janow heard about all the positive programs that Peninsula offers and wanted to help. He believes that one important factor of continued good mental health habits is balancing medications. “The most critical thing for people who are being discharged from inpatient hospitalization at a place like Peninsula is access to medication. The staff makes sure patients have meds for the first 30 days after leaving the facility, which is so crucial to success.”Funds raised [by Artsclamation!] help therapists with continued education, and assist patients with housing, medication and other basic needs that help along some- one’s road to recovery.”

Janow adds that the importance of behavioral and mental health has been amplified by the pandemic, especially in East Tennessee. “Mental health is something we don’t talk about, or don’t think we need, until we do. These issues affect everyone. The efforts and contributions of these artists help tell the story of this organization, and Artsclamation! is the only fundraiser Peninsula has. It’s a great cause – and I want people in the community to visit the public art sale and experience the connection between mental health and creating art.”

Essential Support for Mental Health Services

Thirty percent of the proceeds from artists’ sales at Artsclamation! support improvements to the treatment programs and environments at Peninsula, as well as enhancing the resources available to patients. Artsclamation! also raises awareness of mental health issues across East Tennessee. One in four East Tennesseans suffers from mental illness, but there is a significant gap in funding for behavioral and mental health services. Funds from this event help reduce that gap and allow Peninsula to continue providing innovative and effective mental health care in both inpatient and outpatient settings.

Changing Lives in the Community

Offering services for children, adolescents and adults, Peninsula is a leader in the changing health care environment. The hospital is located in Blount County, with outpatient centers in Knox, Blount, Loudon and Sevier counties. Additionally, Peninsula offers care for senior adults with co-existing psychiatric and medical conditions at the Senior Behavioral Unit located at Parkwest Medical Center. Over the last 21 years, supporters of Artsclamation! have provided over $1.8 million toward Peninsula’s mission to help people recover from mental health disorders and dependencies so they may lead healthy and productive lives. Bringing in more than $82,000 in 2022, the event has proven its popular the community.

Don Reed pictured in front of his woodfired kiln.
The featured artist for Artsclamation! 2023 is Don Reed, who uses a woodfire kiln to make functional clay pots, vases and other creations inspired by old-world and traditional pottery techniques. He crafts innovative glazes made from locally sourced materials and challenges himself to find creative ways to bring his artistic visions to life.

Don Reed was raised in Knoxville and now resides in Crab Orchard, which is northeast of Crossville, Tennessee. His artistic inclinations began in childhood, but he only began throwing pottery as recently as 2020. It’s a part-time interest that will become full-time when he retires. “I’ve been doing art since I was a little kid,” he says. “My mother encouraged me to pursue creating art. I focused on pencil, pen, and ink drawing in high school and won several local and state awards.

“I was unable to continue drawing when I developed essential tremors in my 20s,” Reed says. “I dipped my toe back into art when I tried pottery in 2020. I am thrilled to have found this medium that I can manipulate without the tremors being a problem. I love being able to create a piece of art from dirt!” His technique is unique. While many pots are created in a kiln powered by electricity or gas, Reed uses a woodfire kiln and burns wood from the trees on his property. “The woodfire produces flame effects on the pots. In each piece I make, I think about how it will react to the flames during wood fire. I love to experiment with different textures, like moon jars with a crackly finish.”

Finding Your Muse

Reed says, “I’m deeply inspired and interested in nature and landscape. I love experimenting with textured forms and color and how they interact with wood fire. In my mind, my work reflects the mountains, rock formations and trees found at our home. It seems that every time I go outside, I am inspired to make something new based on a rock or a piece of bark.”

Reed began studying pottery on his own, took a few classes, and bought a wheel. He says, “All stress seems to leave me when I’m at a pottery wheel and creating.” He also enjoys making things that bring joy to others. His hope is to start opening his kiln to classes for youth and other members of the community who may want to learn about this art form.

He is grateful to be selected as the featured artist for Artsclamation! “The local artists in this community are truly amazing and I am sincerely humbled to have been chosen for this honor,” he says.

“To do this work brings me happiness, and I hope to bring some of my best pieces to this show. I care deeply about this cause be- cause everyone is touched by mental illness. “Behavioral health is something that we all should be supporting – good mental health is the backbone of a strong, happy community. Unfortunately, the fact that it is so underfunded affects every family in our society.” His advice for other aspiring artists is to “follow your passion and go with what fills your soul,” just as he has been encouraged to do. “The joy I gain from my process comes from having the chance to become a kid again. I get to play in the dirt, collect rocks, sculpt, finger paint, and play with fire be more fun?!”

Reed's featured piece for Artsclamation!
Reed’s featured work is a vase titled “Adrift.” He chose the title because of the ocean-colored glaze used on the woodfired clay. A piece of driftwood is atop the vase and appears to be adrift in the expansive ocean.
List of participating artists and event details.

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