Activities Program

  • Austen Riggs Center Greenhouse Instructor Sandy Dawson talks about the role of gardening and the greenhouse as part of the Activities Program at Riggs.

    Those beautiful flowers on the tables, the well-tended plants in the Inn, the delicious vegetables prepared in the kitchen—Austen Riggs has its own “garden-to-table” initiative, courtesy of patients who tend plants in our greenhouse and garden as students of Greenhouse Instructor Sandy Dawson.

  • Read the summer 2018 issue of the Austen Riggs Center’s newsletter, ARC News, featuring stories on creativity and human development.

    Read the summer 2018 issue of the Austen Riggs Center’s newsletter, ARC News, featuring stories on creativity and human development. 

  • The Hamlet Project will be performed nightly at 7:30 p.m. from Tuesday, May 8 through Sunday, May 13at Riggs Theatre 37.

    Each spring, a group of Austen Riggs Center patients and actors from the local community stage a Shakespearian production in the intimate Riggs Theatre located at 37 Main Street in Stockbridge on the second floor. This year’s production, The Hamlet Project, will be performed nightly at 7:30 p.m. from Tuesday, May 8 through Sunday, May 13.

  • Austen Riggs Center's Visual Arts Instructor talks about facing a blank canvas.

    How do you deal with the blank canvas? Any artist has this problem, any painter has this problem; they face thousands and thousands of blank canvases and have a lot of the same feelings and same doubts: “I have no talent,” “I don’t know how to do this,” “I don’t even know what I’m doing,” “Why bother?” But if we’re stubborn, we don’t allow that to stop the creative process.

  • Mark Mulherrin is the visual arts instructor in the Activities Program of the Austen Riggs Center.

    Part three of a four-part blog series, from a conversation with Visual Arts Instructor Mark Mulherrin

    For me, addressing barriers that students bring to creating art can be like unraveling a clot of fishing line at times. How I deal with it is to be encouraging and to try to make them feel comfortable. But it is less important how I deal with it; it’s how do they deal with it.

  • Two other words that students often get confused are “skill” and “talent.” A student may say “I have no talent; can I just leave?” What they mean is “I have no skill.” Now, they might have talent, but they don't know it because they haven't tried to see if it’s there.

  • Activities Program

    When the Activities Program staff meets with patients (who are students when they work with us) shortly after being admitted, I hear similar sentences come up again and again: “I can’t draw.” “I’m not creative.” “I have no imagination.” Though any of the disciplines can elicit these responses, it seems most intense around the visual arts which is frustrating because I think it's arising out of a misunderstanding about what visual art is and how it is made.

  • The Austen Riggs Center mourns the loss and celebrates the life of long-time Activities Program woodworking instructor Edouard Vaval.

    In January, the Riggs community lost a beloved member, Edouard Vaval, who served as woodworking instructor in the Activities Program from 1994-2018. Known not only for his talent as a woodworker, but also for his warmth, kindness, and depth of caring, Edouard will be greatly missed by patients and staff alike.

  • Working in an environment deliberately separated from the intensive treatment atmosphere, patients take up the role of student as they participate in a variety of artistic and intellectual endeavors in the Activities Program.

    As we approach the end of 2017, we thought we’d look back over some of our more popular blogs and blog series from this year.

    Here are five of the most popular blogs from July to September.

  • Riggs Theatre 37 to Stage Mary Zimmerman’s The Secret in the Wings, December 12-17, 2017

    Riggs Theatre 37 is excited to announce this year’s December production: Mary Zimmerman’s The Secret in the Wings will be performed Tuesday, December 12 through Sunday, December 17, nightly at 7:30 p.m. in the intimate Riggs Theatre 37, located at 37 Main Street in Stockbridge on the second floor.




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