Venture House Group Exhibition grew out of a mutual desire of Venture House and QCC to explore an alliance between our two organizations. Venture House and the QCC Department of Nursing identified a mutual desire to reduce the stigma associated with mental illness, and decided to provide community education through an exhibition of the works of artists who are members of Venture House. Members' artwork is selected by the director and assistant director of the Art Gallery and formally exhibited in the QCC Art Gallery Community Gallery. This is the second exhibition at QCC by Venture House artists.
An informal viewing and luncheon with the theme “Meet the Artists” gives nursing students who are studying the practice of community mental health an opportunity to meet and talk with some of the exhibiting artists. These members live in the community and share with the students how Venture House and art are important in their lives. Students and artists come to the luncheon with a sense of dignity and joy, seeking to shatter the stigma of mental illness through conversation and experience of art.
The nursing students participating in this service-learning project are in their last semester. These students have had clinical experiences in both in-patient psychiatric units and community agencies. Therapeutic communication skills and intervening in psychosocial issues, as well as understanding the broader health care system in the community and administering care in out-patient facilities are primary goals for the last semester. Students are also expected to meet the College's general education objective of integrating knowledge and skills in their program of study. Students not only interact with the artists but also meet with staff of Venture House to learn about its goals and offerings. The meeting, exhibition and conversation help student nurses gain a unique perspective that focuses on the strengths of the Venture House members.
According to the American Association of Community Colleges, academic service-learning combines community service with classroom instruction, focusing on critical, reflective thinking as well as personal and civic responsibility. Academic service-learning programs involve students in activities that address local needs while developing their academic skills and commitment to their community.