Art Therapy For People Deemed “Not Guilty By Reason Of Insanity" Is Explored In New Film From Alexander Street Press | Alexander Street

Art Therapy For People Deemed “Not Guilty By Reason Of Insanity" Is Explored In New Film From Alexander Street Press

December 7, 2011

DECEMBER 21, 2011 (ALEXANDRIA, VA) — Filmakers Library, an imprint of Alexander Street Press, announces the addition of Lens and Pens: Art in an Unexpected Place to their catalog of film titles.

This hopeful and uplifting film by Deborah J. Schull introduces viewers to the Lens, Pens, Brushes and Friends program at the John Howard Pavilion—the former maximum-security wing of Washington, DC’s historic St. Elizabeth’s Hospital. The program provides classes in poetry, photography and painting to people who were deemed mentally ill after being charged with a crime. Through interviews with the program’s co-founders, group leaders and three program participants, viewers are shown how art can build confidence and encourage the patients to express themselves.

According to Ed Washington, co-founder of Lens, Pens, Brushes and Friends, the program uses art as a vehicle for communication, a way to start changing societal perceptions about people who are mentally ill. One former inpatient interviewed in the film suggests that the program goes even further by changing individuals’ perceptions of themselves – “It’s wonderful to have an image in my own mind of someone I can be.”

“This film is a testimony to the saying, ‘don’t judge a book by its cover,’” said Sue Oscar, co-founder of Filmakers Library. “The people featured show us that talent, creativity and inspiration can come in any package. Without a doubt, scholars of counseling and art therapy will find this film very worthwhile.”

Lens and Pens is the recipient of numerous honors including the Mental Health America Media Award and an Honorable Mention at the 2010 Voice Awards by the US Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Lens and Pens is currently available for purchase on DVD and, for the first time, in streaming video format through the Academic Video Store. Also, later this month this film will be available as part of Alexander Street’s Filmakers Library Online collection.

A preview of this video can be found on the Alexander Street Press YouTube channel.

For more information on Lens and Pens: Art in an Unexpected Place or to order the DVD, visit Qualified faculty and library staff may request trial access and pricing information for Filmakers Library Online by emailing sales [at] alexanderstreet [dot] com.

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About Alexander Street Press
Alexander Street Press is an electronic publisher of award-winning online collections for scholarly research, teaching, and learning. Our products are available to libraries and educational institutions worldwide via annual subscription or one-time purchase. Learn more at

Contact for Media Inquiries / Reviewer Access:
Audrey DeGregorio, Marketing Communications Associate
Alexander Street Press
3212 Duke Street
Alexandria, VA 22314
703-212-8520 X116
adegregorio [at] astreetpress [dot] com (adegregorio [at] astreetpress [dot] com)

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