Transitions-Mental Health Association (TMHA) invites the community to its 2015 Art of Recovery Show in Santa Maria during the month of May to support Mental Health Awareness Month.

The show will be open and free to the public, May 13-16 and May 20-23 from 2 to 5:30 p.m. at the Recovery Learning Center at Rancho Hermosa at 225 E. Inger Drive in Santa Maria.

To celebrate the artists, the Recovery Learning Center will host a reception event on Saturday, May 16 from 4 to 7 p.m. featuring art sales, refreshments and music by Tom Mutchler.

The event was first developed in 1995 to offer people in mental health recovery a way to express themselves and to provide a venue to share art, feelings, thoughts and messages with the general public. The goal remains the same today. TMHA hopes to help the community see that people should not be defined in terms of their illness but by their strengths, gifts, and the contributions they make to society.

“You will be inspired by what you see and experience at the show, and we invite you to support the individual artists by purchasing a treasure as a reminder of our talented neighbors,” said Frank Ricceri, associate director at TMHA — Northern Santa Barbara County.

Chuck Huffines has been selected as the featured artist in 2015, and his painting “Transitions’ Landscape” will be showcased in all promotions.

Huffines, a client of TMHA for nearly ten years, has always been very involved in the biannual Art of Recovery Show.

“I’ve been on the selection committee many times,” Huffines said, “and it’s an honor to represent TMHA this year.”

“Transitions’ Landscape” by Chuck Huffines.

Huffines found his inspiration for “Transitions’ Landscape” in TMHA’s own Growing Grounds program.

“Growing Grounds Farm, to me, is an evolution,” Huffines explained. “With the plants, you start out with just a seedling and it grows. And it’s the same with the people. Growing Grounds gives them a chance to work, to build their self-esteem up. It helps them grow, too. That’s what inspired me.”

To Huffines, painting is about more than just creativity.

“Art is very therapeutic to me,” Huffines said. “There are good days and there are bad days. If I’m feeling down, I just pull out the paintbrushes. It really eases my mind, gives me an outlet to get away from it all.”

“Art can serve as the basis of a healing network of communications and play a vital part in recovery,” said Ricceri. “This show is something that reaches the unreachable through the power of expression.”

Please contact Eli Williams at 805.540.6534 or for an entry form and further information.

— Shannon McOuat is the community outreach manager for Transitions-Mental Health Association.