“My husband attempted to end his life in the home he and I shared with our 2-year-old son while my son and I were sleeping upstairs,” wrote Yaitza Canterbury. “My worst nightmare had come to life.”
Canterbury’s story with how depression hit her family was one of the stories selected to be turned into art for a collaboration between Story Exchange and Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art.
One in four adults lives with a mental health condition, yet this common illness often remains hidden behind a wall of secrecy and isolation.
The storytelling and art partnership is part of MOCA’s Exhibition Mindful: Exploring Mental Health Through Art. The exhibition runs through April 16, 2017 and explores the impact that mental illness has on our society, through the lens of contemporary craft.
Mindful was organized by the Society for Contemporary Craft out of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and features more than 30 works created by 14 contemporary artists — including Rose Clancy, Meredith Grimsley, Swoon and Ian Thomas to name a few — who have responded creatively to mental health conditions they have been diagnosed with or affected by. The exhibition highlights a variety of techniques and forms that include innovative art expressions rooted in traditional craft materials, as well as art that explores unexpected relationships between craft and painting, sculpture, conceptual, and installation art.
Story Exchange, an ongoing community art project established in March 2016 turning local stories into art, began accepting story submissions in January, asking Hampton Roads’ locals to respond to the writing prompt, “I really wish others knew this about me…”
Stories started coming in. Stories of hiding depression, feeling lost in a big world, suicide, loss, grief, overcoming pain, family support, and so much more.
“These stories show personal strength,” said Jennifer Chapman, co-organizer of Story Exchange. “Whether it gives them healing or a new outlook, Story Exchange’s process of turning stories into art is both deeply personal to the writer and the artist involved while being relatable to everyone else. It brings people together in unspoken ways we did not realize were possible.”
The authors of these stories have handed over their experiences into the hands of local artists.
Featuring artists from the Virginia Symphony Orchestra, Scribble Cinema, 670 Gallery, Salem Performing Arts Academy and Old Dominion University, the six stories have been turned into a film, mixed media art, violin solo, poetry, a painting and a dance. The stories take on a new life; transformed as the pain once transformed the authors.
On Thursday, the authors will read their stories aloud to a full audience and then the artists will join them on stage to show them how their stories now travel through space as art.
When: Thursday, March 30, 2017
Where: Virginia MOCA
Cost: Free to MOCA members; $5 to community
Time: 6:30 PM – 7:30 PM
For more information: ViBeStoryExchange@gmail.com
For more information on Mindful: Exploring Mental Health through Art, click here.
Story Exchange accepts stories year-round, 24-7. Email your story (any story) today to ViBeStoryExchange@gmail.com.