• Blog Post

Genoa Healthcare’s 10th annual art contest celebrates mental health benefits of creating art

Jan 4th, 2022

Winning and semi-finalist pieces chosen from record number of submissions are on display in a virtual art gallery.

Mental Health Benefits of Creating Art

Each year, Genoa Healthcare® hosts a nationwide art contest across its more than 600 pharmacies to provide individuals an opportunity to creatively express themselves through art. In 2021, 13 winning and 17 semi-finalist pieces were chosen from over 700 submissions to the contest – more submissions than any previous year.

Deb’s piece features an elephant on a dark background. She chose the elephant because of its majestic, strong and wise characteristics, noting that some cultures view elephants as a symbol of good luck. She said she hopes people see similar qualities in herself, too.

The record number of portraits, landscapes, still lifes and other artwork submissions comes at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic has contributed to an increase in the number of people experiencing symptoms of mental illness and substance use. Drawing and painting can improve mental health and helps people deal with life events, according to a study published in the American Journal of Public Health. Some have found art as a way to cope with their feelings of stress and anxiety.

“Art is important to me because it brings me calmness, mindfulness and a way to escape the craziness,” said Deb C., one of 13 contest winners. “Art allows me to express myself in ways that I normally am unable to do. It brings me great joy when others view my work, and a sense of self-worth that I struggle to find.”

Deb’s artwork was recently celebrated at an event hosted by the Genoa pharmacy in Mason City, Iowa, in partnership with Prairie Ridge Integrated Behavioral Healthcare. In addition to her majestic elephant, Deb also submitted a piece featuring a cardinal, which became a semi-finalist in the contest.

Also recognized at the event was David O., a semi-finalist with a beautifully detailed piece.

Semi-finalist piece by David O. features detail with charcoal, colored pencil, oil paint, markers and chalk.

“With the increase in mental health issues throughout the pandemic, Genoa’s art contest has been a great outlet for consumers and staff members to express their feelings and emotions while sharing their talents with the community,” said Lorrie Young, executive director at Prairie Ridge Integrated Behavioral Healthcare. “We congratulate Deb for her winning artwork.”

Winning and semi-finalist artworks are showcased in a virtual art gallery and feature each artist’s personal statement about what creating art means to them.

“The contest is now 10 years strong, and it keeps getting better each year,” said Genoa Healthcare CEO Joe Douglas. “Many of our consumers and clinic partners told us they were grateful the art contest gave them the opportunity to focus on their artistic skills amid all the uncertainties of the pandemic. For me, that sentiment embodies the best of who we are and what we do.”


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