Sunday, May 24, 2009


So, I didn't know how busy May would be for me but I am even more inspired to continue to fight stigma than ever before. My very first gallery show opened at Art Rage-The Norton Public Gallery in Syracuse, NY at the end of April. This particular gallery has set out to exhibit progressive art that inspires resistance and promotes social awareness; supports social justice, challenges preconceptions and encourages cultural change.  

This show was very symbolic to me since I grew up and attended college in Syracuse. As people gathered during the show's reception, I couldn't shake the fact that my brother was in a state hospital about three miles away. But Josh was definitely there in spirit. His strength was seen in the posters that greeted guests. The response I received was overwhelming! I met a few artists who deal with mental illness first hand. Their art was both inspiring and honest. The gallery included a photo essay titled "Nothing to Hide". I am sure some of you have heard about this traveling show, if not, you can learn more here. At the exhibit, I met a few individuals who could help me raise awareness on a much larger scale. 
About three days after my return from Syracuse, I attended The Saratoga County Citizens' Committee for Mental Health (SCCCMH) annual dinner. I am a new board member so I felt a little out of place:) The committee was honoring a local psychiatrist for his contributions and loyalty to Saratoga County. I was moved to tears when two of his patients honored the doctor with a speech and artwork. It was the first time I was able to see how inportant a doctor can be in one's recovery. As the doctor got up to accept his award, you could see tears in his eyes. He proceeded to say that he should not accept the award because the true heroes are those who struggle with mental illness as well as their families. I was excited to introduce my husband to the committee and specifically a young woman who I has the same illness as my brother. She is quite an inspiration and gives me hope that my brother could get better some day. 
One day after the dinner, I attended the Mental Health Association in New York State, Inc. for their Spring Reception and Silent auction. A young woman contacted me about displaying my art at the show. Unfortunately, my art was still being shown in Syracuse but I had a better idea. I was already working on my documentary so I offered to show the opening because it included images of my artwork. They projected the short video as a back drop to the reception. I also donated two of my giclée art prints (one of the framed prints is seen above) for their silent auction. I never guessed that the art prints would raise almost $300 for charity! The man who bid on both prints said they would be displayed on the walls of a new mental health facility. He hopes they will make an impact on patients who pass by. After I told this man more about my cause, he asked me to speak at an upcoming event. I was so surprised:)

I tried to show my support by bidding on artwork, and I won! The piece (seen below-left side) was created by an eighty year old woman after the death of her partner, Jack. I was surprised to learn how old she was since the artwork is childlike in nature. Picasso once said, "Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up." The piece to the right (below) was created by an artist who was showing at the gallery along with my work. His artwork is beautiful and even more meaningful when I learned about his fight with mental illness. I will blog more about him in the future.

I will post about the final leg of the art exhibit tomorrow. I am excited to tell you about my educational video which I presented for the first time last weekend! I will also tell you about an inspirational speaker who has recovered from bipolar disorder after returning from Dessert Storm!


  1. I am so excited for you- way to go! Keep us posted on your speaking engagements and more art galleries.


  2. I'm sorry that I am going to be out of town during the exhibit in Syracuse... thank you for all that you are doing. I experienced an acute psychotic episode three years ago that chnaged my life forever... I am moved by your deep understanding of the experience...your empathy for your brother is a gift... keep going!

  3. Hi AC,

    Good luck with the art exhibit and with all you do!


  4. Thank you all for your very nice comments!!!!

  5. Awww...! So not fair when you said about the inspirtional young woman. I wanted to cry and did. I am going to fight until as they say, "We all come home." I know it's a bit of a stretch, but I mean that until we all get better. Have you ever met children with the illness? That is a special cause I will deal with in the future. Most of us get the illness as late teens or early twenties, but those little faces. They need help too.

    Thanks for manking me cry lady
    I am honored,