Breaking dishes in the name of art and therapy, groundbreaking ArtPrize entry

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - West Michigan is breaking glass for the sake of art and therapy, helping people overcome the stigma of mental illness while creating a 'smashing' ArtPrize entry.

Team Breakthrough is a community-powered ArtPrize entry created by Psychotherapists Laura Bennett and Randy Flood, alongside Artist, Mark Bird.

"Sometimes it's messy and noisy, and that's okay," said Bennett. "It turns out life if messy."

Bird explained their ArtPrize entry as a metaphor depicting how messy and broken things can be, piecing together broken ceramics to create a beautiful mosaic based on the mythological Phoenix.

"People will write things that they maybe want to let go of on a plate," said Bird.

People then take that plate to a separate room for the soul-purpose of smashing them into tiny pieces. Bird saves the pieces and color coordinates them to recreate the fable of the Phoenix, the story of a mythological bird finding new life after death.

Thousands of dishes have been smashed with the help of hundreds of people all over Michigan, while challenging the concept of judgement and accepting that life isn't perfect.

"They can see and feel that other humans have similar experiences," said Bennett.

You can help Breakthrough continue their mosaic at their breaking session Tuesday, July 14th from 6 p.m to 9 p.m. at 506 Oakland NE, Grand Rapids.

The session is free to the public with ceramics on site if you don't have any of your own to break.

As for ArtPrize, the Phoenix mosaic will be located front and center outside Devos Place.

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