ORANGE, NJ – To say that Amy Charmatz is appreciative of art would be an understatement. After all, painting pulled her out of clinical depression and ultimately saved her life.
Charmatz, who battles constantly for control of her motor skills after several neurological operations, is one of several artists whose work is on display in an exhibition titled “Symmetry” at the Arts Unbound Gallery, 544 Freeman St., Orange. The show will run through Oct. 14.
Arts Unbound is local nonprofit organization dedicated to providing arts education and skill-building opportunities for citizens with mental and physical disabilities.
“I have a very personal feeling about my artwork,” Charmatz says on her portfolio site, where her entire collection, “Art Saves Lives,” is on display. “I believe that it really saved mine.”
VSA New Jersey, which promotes creative opportunities for the disabled, is partnering with Arts Unbound on this exhibit. “The exhibit is a wonderful opportunity for our organizations to join together and advance our shared goal of promoting artists with disabilities,” said Vanessa Young, executive director of VSA New Jersey.
“Symmetry,” which opened last weekend, features the work of Stacy Crawford, Jon Gabry, Gabriella Gonzalez, Greg Smith, Kasey Tararuj, Tom Wade and Anthony Zaremba, as well as several pieces from Charmatz’s personal collection.
“I’m willing to be completely open … and to use my own experiences as an example so that people will get involved,” Charmatz said.
A painter since 2000 and a member of the Arts Unbound community since 2008, Charmatz said that the organization has played an integral part in her journey to mental well-being. She credits Arts Unbound and VSA New Jersey as inspiration for one of the paintings she has chosen for display, titled “She Knows I Keep Her Sane.”
“This whole thing, my art and VSA and Arts Unbound, I think they have all had a very important role in people’s mental and physical health,” she said. “They’ve made such a big impression. I’m so glad (“Symmetry”) is happening.”