Artist's statement: Nicole Clevenger describes inspiration for writing 'Work Is Recovery' stories, creating artwork

(Editor's note: This story originally appeared in "Work Is Recovery: True stories of real people who benefit from Supported Employment, the evidence-based practice," a booklet which was published in March 2007. View the "Work Is Recovery" PDF.)

Cleveland, OH—Nicole Clevenger, BFA, is a peer consultant at the Ohio Supported Employment Coordinating Center of Excellence (Ohio SE CCOE). In this role, she provides consultation to service organizations and SE teams about how to enhance services to people who have been diagnosed with mental illness. She also provides consultation to consumer groups. Ms. Clevenger wrote all the stories in Work Is Recovery. She also created the artwork that appears on this page, a collage whose parts appear with each story.
"The sentiment expressed in the quote to the right reminds me of how women and slaves created quilts to communicate and preserve their own histories," Nicole writes. "So I used a quilt-like design for this piece: each rectangle represents a story featured in this booklet. The quote itself is the border of the design, because it unites the stories. As I wrote the profiles featured in this collection, I was continually inspired to select my words in a way that would honor people’s unique experiences and celebrate their successes without exploiting them or minimizing their struggles. This is an ongoing effort in my work as a peer consultant—to tell stories not just about people with mental illness but also to uncover the experiences of the universal human condition that we all share." 

The "Work Is Recovery" Stories

View a full list of the 'Work Is Recovery' stories.

Nicole Clevenger, BFA, is a peer consultant at the Ohio SE CCOE, an initiative of the Center for EBPs at Case Western Reserve University. Edited by Paul M. Kubek, director of communications at the Center for EBPs.