Welcome to Art is Healing


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Art is empowering. Art is growing. Art is loving. Art is Healing.

Thursday, May 22, 2014, 6-9 PM

The Ed Roberts Campus (above the Ashy Bart Station)


You are invited to an evening of inspiration, an art show and sale to raise funds for supporting accessible, culturally competent mental health services in the API communities of Alameda and Contra Costa counties.

On Thursday, May 22, 2014, Asian Community Mental Health Services is putting on an art show fundraiser that highlights and sells the beautiful artwork made by our clients with mental illness and developmental disabilities. ACMHS is proud of running a flourishing art program for over 35 years, led by our resident staff member Noriko Inagaki, a clinician and artist who specializes in Japanese woodblock printing. Hundreds of ACMHS clients have grown both creatively and therapeutically through their participation in the art group. We believe and promote the idea that art is a vital tool for building strength, hope, and resiliency.

By selling our clients’ art, we aim to actively promote our clients’ use of their creativity and craftsmanship to find and contribute their unique gifts to society.

In addition, we will sell donated works of art by local artists in the Bay Area. We are currently looking for artists to donate their art to support our efforts.

There will be light refreshments and musical entertainment

Questions? Email Nicole Hsiang, Event Coordinator

e: nicoleh@acmhs.org

p: 510-869-6089


Oakland Tribune: “Creative Program for Mentally Ill”, November 4, 2001


Art as Refuge

By Daphne Hsu

November 4, 2001


One of Kiyomi’s woodblock prints, to be sold in Art is Healing Event

Kiyomi Price listened to phantom voices.

In December 1994, Price did not have many friends and she found comfort in the voices. They told her to quit her part-time jobs and drive. She obeyed. For a month, she drove through Oakland, Piedmont. Richmond and other cities. Her funds dwindled and she became homeless. She went to a welfare office at the end of January.

At a program for the homeless, she was finally diagnosed with schizophrenia.

Three years later. Price was helping others with mental illnesses at a an art program where she had been enrolled.

She is still an art instructor with Asian Community Mental Health Services, a nonprofit organization based in Oakland. The art program, which began in 1997, helps mentally ill and developmentally disabled people. It helps people, who have been admitted to the hospital multiple times, become well enough to find employment.

Although the result is healing, the program can be viewed as a collective art group rather a therapy session.

The program was a refuge for Elliot Nuval, a 34-year-old who had schizophrenia for years before he sought help.

“I just wanted to find out who I was – to look for a place, a sense o fbelonging, like a clubhouse,” Nuval said. “I wanted to put some structure in my daily life. Coming here helped me to socialize, and just have fun and share my talents.”


Nuval has participated in the art program since its inception and continues to create there. He also works once a week at the Neighborhood Learning Center on International Boulevard where the art program is held.

Noriko Inagaki, art program and clinician at ACMHS, is retiring in June

Noriko Inagaki, art program and clinician at ACMHS, is retiring in June

Noriko Inagaki, who supervises the program, credited its success to its enjoyment factor. She treats everyone like a professional and describes the program as a joint business venture- the point is to not stigmatize people, she said.

About 15 people come regularly, although about 50 people are registered for the program, Inagaki said.

Artists meet twice a week to make wood-block designs that are printed and often sold. Proceeds from art sales are split between the artist and the supply costs. Their work varies from abstract images to scenes with a definite foreground and background. Some compositions have been of a single sun flower, and a snapshot of a man and a bull running in front of distant mountains.

Unlike Nuval, Price hesitated to enroll in the art program. The Japanese-born Oakland resident that to work through her prejudice against Asian people, formed during a 1994 visit to Japan where she said she had been treated badly. She participated in the art program with encouragement from Inagaki.

“Noriko was really nice, really honest, and warm hearted,” she said of Inagaki, who was her therapist from 1996-1998. “Finally, I started coming to class with Asian people.”

With help from Inagaki and others, she started attending peer counseling and psychology classes and was hired at the health services organization.

IMG_20140403_135148The art program suits Price well because of her graphic design background. After she came to the United States from Japan in 1980, she studied at the Academcy of Art in San Francisco.

Price works at the center 12-14 hours a week because the three drugs she takes for depression, anxiety and psychosis leave her easily fatigued.

“Before I start working, my panic attacks and side effects from medication was really, really bad,” she said.

From December 1994 to June 1995, she was admitted to Highland Hospital in Oakland 11 times because she felt like she was going to die, she said. Later, she found out she sufferred from panic attacks.

“Helping others really helps my recovery,” Price said. “I really appreciate all my students- they support me, too. We support each other.”



What is the Japanese Art of Woodblock Printing?

The production of classic Japanese woodblock prints is a fairly complex process, involving a number of steps, each usually performed by a different person, one skilled in that particular step.

IMG_20140403_135451An artist comes up with an image and draws out a sketch. Then, the sketch is passed on to a block carver, who will etch the artist’s design into the block, using the above tools to carve the delicate lines and features of the design.


When the woodblock carving is completed, the process is passed onto the printer, who will print the image onto rice paper. Ink is prepared and applied directly to the block, one color at a time!


A roller is used to apply pressure to the ink so that the color becomes embedded into the paper.


As you can see, it is a very lengthy, step-by-step process to make each print!

IMG_20140403_135215A copy of the finished print. This is called “Peace Wishing” by Bunly.

You can see this for yourself at Art is Healing, where a volunteer will be doing live demonstrations of the printing process!

Seeking Sponsorships for Art is Healing

Asian Community Mental Health Services (ACMHS)is a non-profit agency that provides multicultural and multilingual mental health and case management services to API communities in Oakland Chinatown. On May 22nd, ACMHS will be organizing a fundraiser at the Ed Roberts Campus titled “Art is Healing.” The event will feature pieces of Japanese woodblock prints made by ACMHS clients and ACMHS clinician and art group facilitator Noriko Inagaki.

In anticipation for this fundraiser, we are seeking sponsorship in order to mitigate the costs of setting up this event. Specifically, funds from sponsors will go towards purchasing display stands for the art works, acquiring a curator for the event, and purchasing materials to use for promotional purposes (printing, flyers, etc).


The funds raised from this fundraiser will be used to sustain our current art program in the following ways:

  • To offset fees required for future ACMHS client art exhibitions at the Oakland Art Center (gallery rentals, framing, promotion, etc.)
  • To purchase materials for the current art program
  • To allocate a percentage of profits to the ACMHS clients who created the original prints


In addition to benefitting the ACMHS art program, Art is Healing will also seek to increase exposure and awareness of the importance of mental health in our API community. This event will serve to showcase the strength and resilience of our API clients, give exposure to local API artists, as well as celebrate Noriko Inagaki’s work at ACMHS for the past 30 years.

Call for Artists

Call for Artists!

To donate artwork to Art is Healing, an art fundraiser to benefit Asian Community Mental Health Services.

We seek donations of artwork that explores the theme of mental health in the Asian Pacific Islander Community. All mediums are welcome.

Submission Deadline: April 24, 2014

For details on how to submit your art, email Nicole Hsiang: nicoleh@acmhs.org