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The Awakenings Project – Art From The Mentally Ill

Empowering Healing Through Art-

As a poet and writer I am grateful for every magazine or outlet that has ever published my work. It is a truly an honor when somebody says to you, ‘your work is good enough for us’ and proves that statement by publishing it. As such I am always looking to pay back kindness with kindness. So please allow me to introduce to you “The Awakenings Project”.

Awakenings Project Mission Statement

“The Awakenings Project is a grass-roots initiative whose mission is to assist artists with psychiatric illnesses in developing their craft and finding an outlet for their creative abilities through art in all forms. The Awakenings Project also works to raise public awareness and acceptance of the creative talents of people living with psychiatric disorders who work in the fields of fine art, music, literature, and drama.”

Check out their website.

I see the Awakenings Project as a safe place where people with mental illness can express themselves and not feel inhibited or judged. People who suffer from psychological problems are a family, much in the same way ‘veterans’, or any other group who have shared a common experience are. The mentally ill share a unique perspective in life that only we can understand. In the Awakenings Project you will find work exclusively written by the mentally ill. For one that is mentally ill you will find the common chord. For those outside of our community you will find valuable insights to what makes us what we are.

I can recommend The Awakenings Project in two ways. One is to submit your artwork to them. I don’t believe that there is an active call for work presently but it wouldn’t hurt for you to contact them and inquire. Even if you have never been published before, here is an excellent place to begin. So much of getting published, is not so much as the quality of the poem, but finding the right match for what you wrote. Here is something written exclusively by the mentally ill, so that narrows the field of competition greatly.

Secondly the Awakenings Project is excellent reading for anybody. I enjoyed reading through my complimentary copy. Some of the work made me laugh and some made me think. A few even got under my skin and wretched my heart.  I gave one of the issues I was published in to my psychiatrist as a gift.

Please allow me to present one of the poems the Awakenings Project published of mine.


Still Don’t Know


Sweet whispers under night’s sky

Why is heaven so high?

Clouds blowing to and fro

And I still don’t know

I have demons

Like heaven has its hell

I’ll keep on dreamin’

You really can never tell


Life’s confusion

Truth fades to illusion

You have all you desired

Cept what is required


You never came

Played me as if a game

Still you did give

It helped me to live

Yet the love didn’t grow

Still don’t know, still don’t know


Truth written in stone

Love’s essence never known

What more can I bring

Cept everything


Still don’t know, still don’t know

Still don’t know, still don’t know


The Awakenings Project – Art From The Mentally Ill

John Kaniecki

John Kaniecki is a full-time caregiver for his wife Sylvia. He is a published writer and works with the Church of Christ. John has lived with bipolar for over thirty years and has been hospitalized nine times, three of which were committed. John has chronicled his life story in his memoirs "More Than The Madness". Also of note is John's book of poetry "Murmurings Of A Mad Man" which are poems written about being committed in Graystone Psychiatric Hospital. John believes in the power of words to change the world for the better. His website can be seen here. His books can be seen on Amazon. You can visit his personal blog "Turn A Page Or Two" here.

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APA Reference
Kaniecki, J. (2017). The Awakenings Project – Art From The Mentally Ill. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 17, 2018, from


Last updated: 30 Oct 2017
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 30 Oct 2017
Published on All rights reserved.