JOHNSTOWN, CAMBRIA COUNTY, Pa. — (WTAJ Plus) — The lot sitting near the intersection of Napoleon and Haynes Streets sit empty today, but in a few months, it will be turned into a healing garden art park.
“I have a vision dedicated to mental health and suicide awareness where people can come and enjoy the artwork. There’s going to be murals up, textiles, woodwork, metal, sculpture and we’re going to have permanent easels in a circle here where people can enjoy themselves bringing their canvas and painting on the grounds,” said artist Lila Samuels.
Lila Samuels is a Johnstown native. She says the healing park, even in it’s early stages, has already made an impact in the community.
Two weeks ago, Lila and some others were working in the park, and then this happened…
“A lady came up with a wheelchair and asked a young man to help her because she felt like she was going to hurt herself. The young man responded, called the ambulance..he didn’t even know the cause…and it’s like a calling for me because I feel like she was sent here. This park is healing people as we speak.”
Samuels isn’t a stranger to dealing with mental health.
“My family came from a mental health background. My mother was diagnosed with Catatonic Schizophrenia, I lost my sister and my niece of suicide and it’s really running rampent in this area.”
She says with the COVID-19 pandemic, everyone needs a spot where they can get away.
“The community and people need a place to go where they can reflect on their innerselves and enjoy the beauty of a park and somewhere to get out and share their emotions, share their healing and heal together.”