Stories of Recovery: Chris
Chris came to The Bridge in 2002, and has lived in Bridge housing since 2005. Before The Bridge, Chris relied on soup kitchens for food for a year and a half and couldn't pay his rent.
When Chris came to The Bridge, he started participating in groups to learn about managing anxiety and the symptoms of his mental illness. He also participated in career counseling and became a messenger through The Bridge Vocational Program for The Bridge in 2004, a position he still holds today.
"The Bridge has helped me the most with managing my symptoms and getting the right help from the right places. I can now take care of myself," Chris says.
Chris majored in Russian Studies at Columbia University and is a self-taught artist. He joined The Bridge Group Artists 5 years ago, and since then has participated in numerous exhibits at The Bridge's Gallery 300, The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), and the Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church Art Gallery.
When he first joined the art group his drawings were the size of a quarter. He started to use paints and his drawings and paintings became larger. His recent paintings are 18"x24" and he has a fan following that looks for his work at all his exhibitions.
The major themes in his art are the things he finds most interesting. He predominantly covers themes of political activism, street scenes and animals in his work. As he has developed as an artist, the colors he uses have become more vibrant, detailed and more descriptive.
"At The Bridge, I most enjoy the Art Therapy Program and the socialization and structure I get from that group. I have made a lot of friends along the way," Chris noted.
Chris likes to keep busy. Three years ago he joined The Bridge's Horticulture Program, participating in seeding, planting and harvesting at our Urban Farms. Chris has worked in a clerical position with the New York City Audubon Society for the past 6 months. He has also been a part of the Art Students League of New York for the past year and a half, where he takes part in art classes every Saturday and has shown his work in their student exhibitions. On Saturday nights, Chris goes to a social group run by National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI), and on Sunday attends clubhouse events at Goddard Riverside Community Center's The Other Place (TOP).
In the future Chris hopes to continue his work at the New York City Audubon Society and to further his art career and would like to stay as a member of The Bridge Group Artist. "As an artist I would like to keep learning, experimenting and keeping my following up," he says. Chris has incredible drive to achieve the goals he sets for himself.