Art Show at Firefly Opens Saturday, Benefits Lotus Project

Nov 20, 2018

“Art inspired by giving” is the theme of an exhibit opening this Saturday at Yoga Bohemia at Firefly Gallery in Surf City. The month-long event kicks off with a reception from 1 to 4 p.m., during which time guests may create their own sand dollar lotus ornament to hang on a holiday tree, or anywhere, as a reminder to be like the lotus flower, whose beauty and strength endure even in murky, muddy waters.

The show, featuring 17 local artists, will hang through Dec. 29 and includes oil, acrylic and watercolor paintings, photography and mixed media works. A portion of the proceeds from sales will support the Lotus Project, a grassroots organization led by Amy Carreño and dedicated to helping those affected by someone else’s addiction or dealing with mental and emotional imbalance.

For information, call Firefly owner Joanne Dozor at 609-361-7700 or 609-389-9306.

Dozor explained the show’s impetus was the July 4 suicide of Surf City’s East Gallery owner Jennifer Bryceland, which left the community shaken and gave rise to a new awareness of mental health issues.

After her own longtime struggle with her son’s addiction and mental health issues that eventually led to his suicide, Dozor came to Long Beach Island 17 years ago and opened her business to begin a new chapter in her life. “I spent 20 years in therapy,” she explained. “I was a midwife and a women’s counselor, myself, as well as a yoga teacher and a massage therapist. All of these things helped me not only to survive, but also to develop the tools to move on and have a happy life.”

Trauma, she continued, be it physical or mental, e.g. loss of loved ones, dissolution of dreams, as well as biochemistry, genetics and substance use, can all threaten one’s wellness.

“We all struggle to keep a balanced life,” she said. “For me, being in nature, art, yoga, and good people in my life all play a role.”

Dozor said she loves that the Island’s economy is comprised mainly of small businesses, many of which will observe Small Business Saturday – the women-owned, family-owned, creative and inspiring “mom-and-pop” shops, each celebrating its uniqueness. Likewise, she is thrilled by the number of artists who jumped at the call to share their work. In spite of life’s uncontrollable twists and sometimes dark turns, she believes self-expression is a pathway to inner peace and joy.

“The Lotus Project seeks to give people ways to find mental balance, even in the midst of tragedy, trauma and chaos,” Dozor said. “We all need help at times, and we all need each other. There is no shame in asking for support.”

Carreño said she is deeply touched and humbled by the local community’s ongoing support of the Lotus Project’s mission to break down the stigma of mental illness and to be a source of comfort and hope.  —V.F.

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