Naples nonprofit transforming lives through art

One Naples man is inspiring the hopeless to believe in themselves through artistic opportunities.

Bill Barnett created a non-profit in Naples called the Storytellers Creative Arts in 1997 and for 20 years, he has worked with rehabilitation facilities and foundations in Southwest Florida to connect those who are struggling with arts as an outlet.

“I learned singing when I was six years old,” Barnett said. “My life was in so much pain and the arts always brought me peace.”

He says songs saved him from choosing drugs or other harmful coping mechanisms during his touch upbringing in New York.

He wanted to share how the arts helped him heal. From those battling addiction and mental illness, to at-risk youth, Barnett says everyone in the community has a story to tell and he wants to help them tell it.

“We’ve touched the lives of over 4,000 people,” he said.

People like David Walker say Barnett is a lifesaver.

“I feel into a really deep, dark depression and fell into addiction..and I lost all hope,” Walker said. “Discovering painting made me feel alive again.”

Artists inspired by Barnett will share their work and their stories at an upcoming ‘Kaleidoscope of the Arts’ benefit next month at the Hilton Naples.

“When that person really experiences that healing, I would say that’s the most special part of what I do,” Barnett said.

You can read more about Storytellers Creative Arts and the benefit event HERE.

Reporter:Melinda Lee
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