Ironwood Residential Treatment Center Unveils Behind The Mask: Into the Mind of a Modern Teen

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Presented by Ironwood Residential Treatment Center in Maine, Behind The Mask is a collection of experimental arts created by teens from all over the country. This exhibition proudly makes its debut on January 10, 2008 at The New York Public Library's Muhlenberg Branch, located on 23rd Street near Seventh Avenue in Manhattan. The exhibit will remain on display until March 31, 2008. As part of the installation, 30 masks will be on display, each a product of the art therapy component employed by Ironwood Residential Treatment Center.

Art therapy is the involvement of artistic self-expression to help people resolve conflicts and problems, develop interpersonal skills, manage behavior, reduce stress, increase self-esteem and self-awareness, and achieve insight. This practice integrates the fields of human development, visual art (drawing, painting, sculpture, and other art forms), and the creative process with models of counseling and psychotherapy. Art therapy is used with children, adolescents, adults, older adults, groups, and families to assess and treat a variety of conditions including anxiety, depression, emotional disorders, mental illness, trauma, and psychosocial difficulties related to medical illness. Art therapy programs are found in a number of settings including hospitals, clinics, public, and community agencies, wellness centers, educational institutions, businesses, and private practices.

At Ironwood Residential Treatment Center for troubled teens, art therapy is used as a free form of self-expression. Lesia Socher, Director of the Art Program at Ironwood, uses an explorative approach employing various mediums and subject matters to elevate the students' awareness into new ways of seeing and expose them to the infinite possibilities of creative expression. The masks on view in this exhibition were created by teens using mixed media and a plaster base. Each mask is a life-like imprint of the artist's face, bearing its own unique story and giving the viewer a peek into the teens' private inner reality. Viewers are encouraged to contemplate the artists' choice of colors, theme, mixed media, and natural features of the face portrayed as there is much insight to be gained about the therapeutic journey endured by the artists.

About Ironwood:
Ironwood is a co-educational residential treatment center and working farm occupying 500 acres of countryside on the beautiful mid-coast of Maine. Ironwood's treatment program offers therapeutic, clinical, and educational services helping teens to adopt proactive behaviors necessary to lead a productive life as a contributing family member and community citizen. Ironwood's treatment program is carefully designed to assist families in crisis and turn around the behavior of the troubled teen by developing self-respect, values, and effective communication skills. For more information, please visit

About The New York Public Library
The New York Public Library was created in 1895 with the consolidation of the private libraries of John Jacob Astor and James Lenox with the Samuel Jones Tilden Trust. The Library provides free and open access to its physical and electronic collections and information, as well as to its services. It comprises four research centers - the Humanities and Social Sciences Library; The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts; the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture; and the Science, Industry and Business Library - and 87 Branch Libraries in Manhattan, Staten Island, and the Bronx. Research and circulating collections combined total more than 50 million items. In addition, each year the Library presents thousands of exhibitions and public programs, which include classes in technology, literacy, and English as a second language. The New York Public Library serves over 15 million patrons who come through its doors annually and another 21 million users internationally, who access collections and services through its website,

About The Muhlenberg Branch
Designed by the famed architects Carrère and Hastings, the Muhlenberg Library has served the Chelsea area for nearly a century. The branch, an elegant three-story brick and limestone structure, was renovated in 2000. It has an adult and young adult area; a children's room with a story hour space, and a community room for public programs and meetings.


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Julia Berezovskaya
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