Art can be a form of therapy, and Artworks downtown is asking Onslow County to submit the beauty created in spite of suffering.

Featuring heARTworks for the month of February, Sara Gant, owner of Artworks Studio, said she plans to exhibit work that represents survivors of illness, trauma, assault, PTSD, domestic violence, or any type of suffering.

As an art educator, Gant said using creativity in the healing process can be transformative.

“I see how important art is as a healing tool,” she said.

Even someone who simply uses art to have a moment alone, Gant said it’s helpful.

“It’s important to have some quiet time,” Gant said. “We don’t have enough of that these days.

Painting, sculpting or writing allows someone the time to think, connect, and reflect while embracing creativity, Gant said.

“I just know how helpful it is for me,” she added.

Gant is taking in artwork of all forms now for the February display. She welcomes all forms of art, whether it’s a brush-stroke painting or typed-up poem or sculpture made of clay.

The entry fee is $10 for up to three submissions and art can be dropped off at Artworks, located at 228 New Bridge St. in downtown Jacksonville, from noon to 8 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, or email to set up drop-off time.

The opening reception will be held Feb. 3 from 6 to 9 p.m. at Artworks and the display will be up from Feb. 3 to Feb. 25 for viewing from noon to 8 p.m. on Fridays and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturdays. Gant said she hopes to make this an annual exhibit.

Beginners are welcome, Gant said. There is no critiquing, just viewing. She understands this may be the only chance some locals have to put their work on display.

“Which in and of itself is a step forward,” Gant added.

Whether the artist would like to add a story to their piece or leave it as-is for others to interpret is fine, Gant said she just wants people to bring their work.

Her hope is to fill up the room.