We are Art With Impact
Our story starts each time art changes our lives.
It starts with a girl whose earliest memories involve following her grandpa around the art museum. He shows her classical and contemporary works, giving details on the symbolism or historical context of a piece. A Frida Kahlo piece really affects her, and she knows strongly that she wants to learn to make art like Frida did: so intimate and honest that that it connects the viewer to the artist without being restricted by things like time and space.
It starts with an awkward fifth-grader in a new school who has to get up in front of the entire class to perform an original comedy sketch she wrote. To her surprise, everyone laughs–even the kids who usually ignore her–and she realizes the transformative power of performance.
It starts with a twelve year old girl practicing piano by herself, playing Beethoven, and suddenly realizing that she is making music that causes her to feel things. That, in the midst of pre-adolescent insecurities and regardless of what any other people think, she knows that she is making something beautiful.
It starts with a 21-year-old college student who begins to process her tangled emotions around the sexual violence so present in her life and the lives of those close to her, by writing a play. Weeks later, sitting in the audience of a production of her play, put on by fellow students who take her experiences and creativity seriously, she begins to heal, and to feel that her life and her art matters.
Our story matures as we realize how many, many inequalities mar the shiny surface of our society’s image. As we’re slapped in the face countless times, brought back to the reality that ugliness, hatred, inequality, oppression and injustice will continue to thrive unless we use the power of our voices and actions and artwork to create visions for a new way of existing.
Our story comes into its own as we embrace the knowledge that we each have the option to change our own lives in small ways and big every single day. And what’s required to do that is the ability to look inside our own selves, see what’s there, consciously choose to accept it, then build on what we’ve got.
‘Cause here’s the thing. When we think of “mental wellness,” this abstract concept that our organization exists to promote, we don’t think of the absence of mental illness. We think of the personal reflection, growth and optimism inherent in the creative process.
Our story boils down to a bunch of people who believe in mental wellness: growth, healing and truth. We are filmmakers, actors, painters, photographers, dancers, business people, public servants, activists, revolutionaries, advocates, allies, siblings, parents and partners.
We believe that promoting mental wellness is a first step toward a better tomorrow. When each person approaches the opportunity of being alive from a balanced place of compassion and fertile curiosity, whole realms of possibilities will open up for us. Both individually and as a society.