Virginia Treatment Center for Children Launches Patient Art Exhibit
University Public Affairs
Seeing artwork or artistic photographs in medical offices is not unusual. Busy visitors may pass by the images without a second glance. But what makes the photos displayed in the lobby of the Virginia Treatment Center for Children unique is the photographer behind the nature and city shots. “The World Through My Eyes” exhibit captures the world as seen through the eyes of Amy Wirtala, an Asperger’s syndrome outpatient of the clinic.
Wirtala’s “World” is the VTCC’s first entry in the Minds Wide Open project, a statewide collaboration of artist, arts, organizations, museums and libraries to encourage children in the arts. As part of its celebration of 50 years of practice, the VTCC plans to display an art gallery featuring new pieces from past and current patients each month. Each exhibition interprets how children and young adults with mental health issues view the world.
Aradhana Bela Sood, M.D., medical director of the VTCC, hopes that by showing the creative, personal side of patients, society will overcome any negative stereotypes regarding mental health.
“This is our way of getting into the inner life of those who suffer from a mental illness and showing how creative they can be,” said Sood, chair of child psychiatry in the VCU School of Medicine.
“These patients are not suffering from a physical illness, but their day-to-day lives are still severely affected.”
The VTCC offers mental health treatment and therapy for children across Virginia. VTCC is the pediatric service of VCU’s Department of Psychiatry as well as a service of the Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU.
“The World Through My Eyes” will be on display until July 1.