By Jennafer Martin
PeaceLove Studios’ co-founder Jeffrey Sparr will be the keynote speaker at the Annual Banquet on Friday, May 15, 2015 at the SDP 43rd Annual Conference & Expo. Read this sneak peek of Jeffrey’s inspirational story about how his discovery of painting changed the course of his life.
A Quest for Peace
It was almost an accident. Jeffrey Sparr, a self-proclaimed “regular guy” who also suffers from a mental illness called obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), picked up a paintbrush one day. He quickly discovered that creating art gave him a sense of control and peace of mind that his illness often disrupted. Jeff realized that if it worked for him, maybe it would work for others affected by mental illness, and the beginnings of PeaceLove Studios were hatched.
Spreading Peace through Art
What began as one man’s experience with creativity has been spread to thousands of people through PeaceLove Studios, an organization that has provided more than 15,000 art programs to schools, senior care centers, hospitals and more since 2009. What started out as an experience of peace through creativity has expanded to helping create a positive symbol of hope and acceptance for mental health overall. “Mental illness is both invisible and misunderstood,” Jeff says, “One in four people in the United States has a diagnosable mental illness, and two thirds of us won’t get the help we need or deserve due to stigma.” PeaceLove Studios sets out to create more understanding and kindness for these illnesses as well as bring peace and meaningful creative experiences to those affected by them.
The symbol for PeaceLove Studios – a combined peace sign and heart – is something founder Jeff created as a unifying symbol that has no stigma and promotes understanding. This symbol is a big part of the approach PeaceLove Studios takes to meet its mission, as participants wear, share and experience it.
While PeaceLove Studios has many partners in its efforts, its main funding comes from the sale of merchandise at PeaceLoveStudios.com. Purchasing tees, jewelry, prints, journals, stationery and more allows PeaceLove Studios to continue spreading creativity, peace and understanding.
This story originally appeared in Craft Industry Today.