Next month, we at the SCC in Pittsburgh, will launch a major new initiative at SCC linking arts, mental health, and wellness. This project,
Mindful: Exploring Mental Health Through Art
, comes out of our belief that arts organizations can bring about positive social change and serve as vital resources for building community. There is both an urgent need and a great opportunity for arts organizations to convene civic conversations about how the arts can support positive mental health. Mental illness is a topic of primary concern for many of us, but it remains a taboo subject. A primary goal of
is to remove the stigma associated with mental illness and to help increase understanding and compassion.
into something much larger than initially imagined - a "socially engaged art experience" that involves not only our main gallery exhibition but several companion shows, and numerous community and education programs. We used "crowd-sourcing" (a strategy of reaching out through social media to find new artists, ideas, and opportunities) to put out an open call for stories and art related to the subject of mental health and 69 artists submitted work for consideration. We thank each of you who responded. Because we could only accommodate a small percentage of these entries, we also added a
show in our education center. Some of the featured artists have been on a lifelong journey of using art making to build resilience and work toward recovery. For others, the
call motivated them to step forward publicly for the first time. We are grateful to all of the participating artists for their generosity and their courage in sharing their stories and art for this project.
. Come learn more about how the arts can help reduce stress, give voice to emotions and experiences, and build resilience - as well as encourage us to support one another on this journey.