A non-profit that supports people with mental health challenges has launched its first Art Project Roadshow at Richmond City Hall.
Throughout June, artists from Vancouver-based Coast Mental Health will attempt to reduce the stigma of mental illness through 10 paintings on show.
In total, 16 member artists from Coast Mental Health are exhibiting 40 paintings at 12 community spaces across the Lower Mainland between May and October.
The roadshow highlights the talents of the organization’s members, but also shines a light on the need for community-run programming that supports people with diverse needs.
“We designed the Art Project Roadshow to bring attention to the barriers that prevent many of our members from participating in community-run initiatives, such as a local art exhibition,” said Tracy Schonfeld, director of community services at Coast Mental Health.
“Building healthy and inclusive communities means developing programs that accommodate a diverse group of people to ensure no one is left behind.”
Art has been long known for its therapeutic benefits and is a powerful tool for self-discovery and healing.
Sandra Yuen MacKay, one of the artists involved in the roadshow, struggled with her mental health since diagnosed as a teenager with schizophrenia.
She uses art to give her focus, purpose and identity.
“Art has been my salvation,” said MacKay. “I’ve painted abstract works and urban scenes about alienation, angst, social inclusion and isolation, but my florals are full of joy, hope and beauty.”
As an artist with mental illness, MacKay works extra hard to overcome the stigma and isolation of mental illness that impedes her from connecting with an audience outside of the mental health community.
“The…roadshow gives some visibility and exposure, which I might not have had otherwise,” added MacKay.
Learn more about the roadshow at CoastMentalHealth.com/art-projectroadshow.