How Did You Do That: Four Paths Art Studio

The Four Paths Art Studio, a creation of the AB334 enrollees and staff of Humboldt County, announced their first art gallery showing on March 1st, 2003.

While it was easy to identify homeless folks on the street who suffered from a chronic mental illness, it was not easy to employ them. Finding housing was easier than finding jobs. Out of desperation and frustration, the creation of the Four Paths Art Studio was developed.

Early on, the enrollee’s decided that they wanted to be their own boss. They didn’t want to work for other people and run the risk of displeasing them and getting fired. The enrollees wanted to create things and sell their work. They wanted to do art. That was the beginning of the Studio.

Thanks to the AB334 State Grant, Humboldt County Mental Health was able to rent a storefront building to house the Art Gallery/Studio in. The art that has evolved out of the studio is phenomenal.

The folks who are in the group have flourished as well. Many people have gone from being homeless, on drugs or alcohol to being housed, off drugs and alcohol and on appropriate medications. They are now part of a group and culture that surrounds them with support and hope.


Early on the staff and enrollee knew we would need help developing the Gallery and Art Studio. Dottie Russle, a local artist from Phillipsville has been driving up to Eureka on Fridays to help us get our project off the ground. She has donated many supplies and always is available with ideas and encouragement. She was the glue that held all of us all together those first couple months when we were wondering if our project would work.

The next big piece to the puzzle fell into our laps when another local artist, Jan Ramsey, who created the Art For Life Studio offered to help us put the gallery together. In one day she transformed our space from an empty dream room, into a beautiful gallery full of art. Jan has been kind enough to loan us some of her pieces for our gallery and has also given us many ideas about how to display our work.

AB staff and enrollee would like to thank everyone who had a part in the creation of this project. During this time of budget woes, some things are working. Please come visit our galley.

The Four Paths Art Studio recognizes exceptional men and women who have overcome extraordinary circumstances and challenges, and experienced a turning point in their lives. There are many artists represented in each month’s show. It is our hope that viewing this artwork will help inspire others to follow their paths.

Pamlyn Millsap
Humboldt County Mental Health Services