Self-Care: A Mental Health Journey Through COVID-19

Featuring Julia Caston

Exhibition Dates: October 12 – November 7, 2021
Location: Frankie G. Weems Gallery

Four bright paintings in a row.

Press Release

The Frankie G. Weems Gallery is pleased to present Self Care: A Mental Health Journey Through COVID-19, an exhibition dedicated to mental health as it relates to COVID 19. The exhibition features Julia Caston, a practicing artist with a diagnosed anxiety disorder, who creates empathetic experiences, events, and objects.

Self Care features two, thirty-foot scrolls representing a living timeline encompassing Caston’s experience with mental health and personal reflection. With the completion of her most ambitious drawing project, Caston developed a nuanced way of coping with the realities of COVID-19 and the impact on her mental health. As an artist previously driven by in-person interactions, Caston adapted her creative process through the virtual world by communicating digitally with her peers. This project resulted in collaborative coloring pages and a soft sculpture installation that reflect the artists’ unfiltered thoughts and emotions during the pandemic. 

Meredith College’s Gallery Director, Molly Hull, and Caston expanded the scope of the coloring pages project to include local artists and Meredith students. A diverse set of ten artists were chosen in an attempt to create a sense of relatability and connection with the larger community during these unprecedented times. The participating artists include: Clarence Heyward, Rebekah Evans, Jasmine Best, Yuko Taylor, King Godwin, Lydia Gunn, Kristin Morin, Elizabeth Kemple, Kasey Vandenboom and Isabel Ruiz. 

For Julia, this exhibition documents the rediscovery of her personal joy and how it relates to her art-making process. The events associated with this exhibition promote self-care and mental health awareness. They include: an in-person, registration only Opening Reception, a Zoom Gallery Talk, a Four-Part Art Therapy Session, a Zoom Panel Discussion, and NAMI-Wake County sponsored event for Meredith students. Please click on the information under “Exhibition Events” for more information.

The exhibition includes accessibility with the use of audio descriptions of artwork, materials for visitors with low vision, tactile experiences, and Braille labels. For more information or to inquire about accommodations, please contact the Gallery Director, Molly Hull at 919.760.8414. 

We are grateful for Jerry’s Artarama, who provided the mats and frames for the coloring pages. 

Note: The gallery operates on normal hours (Monday-Friday 9:00am-5:00pm; Saturday-Sunday 2:00-5:00pm). A mask must be worn at all times within the space, but pre-registration is not necessary to visit the gallery.


Information about Counseling Center/Disability Services On-Campus

The Counseling Center and Disability Services are seeing students in-person or by telehealth. Students can make an appointment to talk to a counselor in the Counseling Center (CC) by emailing or call (919)760-8427 and share days and times they are available. We offer a 1:00 Crisis hour M-F and a 10:00 Problem-Solving Hour MWF for less urgent needs. Students do not need an appointment to see a counselor during these times. We also have a counselor on-call 24/7 during the academic year. Students can reach the counselor on-call by calling the Critical Response time at (919)612-6350 or Campus Police at (919)760-8888. Students share their name and phone number and that they want to speak to the counselor on-call and a CC counselor will call them right back. All Counseling services are free and confidential.
Similarly, students can make an appointment or receive information about disability services by emailing or call (919)760-8427. Students are welcome to drop by the 10:00 problem-solving hour MWF to consult with a disability counselor.
A circular graphic with four colored areas showing a wheelchair, hearing issues, braille, and blindness.
For more information about accessibility or to inquire about other accomodations, please contact Molly Hull, or 919-760-8414.

*All events are free and open to the public. 

In-Person, Registration-Only, Opening Reception Tuesday, October 12 from 5:00-7:00pm. Registration is required to attend the event. Register here

*Please note that registration is limited to 30 people.

Zoom Gallery Talk held via Zoom on October 19th from 7:00-8:00pm. Register here

Exhibition Events


For information about NAMI, refer to the flyer.

Four-Part Therapy Session: Register Here

For information about the sessions, refer to the flyer.

Panel Discussion: Register Here

Mental Health Hotlines

All Emergencies: 911
Holly Hill Hospital: 919-250-7000
Wake Crisis and Assessment Services: 1-800-510-9132
Wake County Mental Health: 919-250-3133
Hopeline (Suicide Hotline): 1-800-784-2433
HopeLine of North Carolina, 24/7 Hotline: 1-877-235-4525
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

Julia Caston smiling at the camera.

About the Artist

Julia Caston is an artist who creates empathetic experiences, events, and objects. Her art practice focuses on creating deep connections between participants and collaborators, with a focus on social justice and antiracism. She received her BA from Columbia University, NY and her MCA from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Caston has completed several artist residencies including the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts Residency, Nebraska City, NE and the Brightwork Fellowship at Anchorlight, Raleigh, NC. She has been the recipient of multiple commissions from the City of Raleigh and has exhibited her work throughout North America. Julia is from Minneapolis and lives and works in Raleigh, North Carolina. She is currently the Intern Coordinator and Outreach Assistant at the North Carolina Museum of Art. Photo by Jonathan Tittle.

Visit her website.

Meet the Art Therapist: Alby Gyimah-Boadi

Alby Gyimah-Boadi is a graduate from the George Washington University. The focus of her studies includes but were not limited to psychotherapy, counseling, trauma-informed art therapy practices and multicultural diversity. 

Gyimah-Boadi currently works with a wide variety of individuals using art therapy skills in a community therapy environment. She worked previously with Alzheimers and dementia clients at a senior living community using art therapy to design activities to enrich their lives. Alby also has over two years of experience working as an art therapy intern in multiple locations and with mixed populations including Tracy’s Kids at Children’s National Medical Center and MSA Adolescent and Child Center in Columbia, MD. Additionally, Gyimah-Boadi worked with military personnel who have experienced Traumatic Brian Injuries and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. In summer of 2017, Gyimah-Boadi went abroad to India and did an internship at a center for homeless men suffering from mental health issues as well as a primary school for underprivileged children. In January 2018, Gyimah-Boadi returned to Ghana and implemented an art therapy program with 3 children on the autism spectrum at an inclusion school as part of her final thesis paper. Gyimah-Boadi conducted a series of workshops over the last year with a former professor using art therapy as a way to facilitate civic dialogue in politically charged times. In December of 2018, Gyimah-Boadi participated in a State Department program called Art Envoy and was the first art therapist to take part in the program which occurred in Nigeria. With the help of the local US Embassy in Abuja, Nigeria, Gyimah-Boadi devised a program to work with different communities in Nigeria and to educate individuals about the benefits of art (art therapy) in the mental health field. 

An art therapist, Gyimah-Boadi helps patients with emotional and mental trauma find ways to express themselves. Daily tasks consist of reviewing referrals and the history of the patients to learn about their unique problems and to provide this information to the other team members. Gyimah-Boadi run groups as well as individual sessions where she is able to monitor clients and offer assistance when needed. Gyimah-Boadi also has experience providing workshops and informational sessions so individuals can learn more about the benefits of art therapy.

Woman smiling with a t-shirt that says "art therapist" and a colorful mural behind her.

Creative States of Mind Panelists

Stacey L. Kirby

Stacey L. Kirby is a queer, white-bodied, self-appointed civil servant from North Carolina who creates socially-engaged interactive performance art. For over a decade, Kirby has combined installation and performance to create ‘performative interactions’ in alternative, private and public spaces. Creative embodiment and trauma-informed practices inspire Kirby’s engagements with students, community performers and participants. She views performance as service which is rooted in Kirby’s 15-year practice of yoga, mindfulness and meditation. She received her 200-hr certification in yoga teacher training and continues her education with teachers in the Embodied Social Justice program. Kirby strives to honor and amplify unique lived experiences and is committed to working alongside BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ collaborators to unpack the oppressive culture of racism, hatred and violence that divides us.

Sherrill Roland

Sherrill Roland is an interdisciplinary artist who creates art that challenges ideas around controversial social and political constructs, and generates a safe space to process, question, and share. He was born in Asheville, NC, and received an MFA in Studio Art from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Inspired by his experience in prison for a crime he did not commit, he founded The Jumpsuit Project to raise awareness around issues related to mass incarceration. Roland’s socially-engaged art project has been presented at Open Engagement Chicago, Oakland City Hall, and the Michigan School of Law. He was awarded the Center for Documentary Studies Post-MFA Fellowship in the Documentary Arts at Duke University in Durham, NC, and the Rights of Return USA Fellowship. After completing the Fountainhead Residency in Miami, Florida, Roland returned to North Carolina as an artist-in-residence at the McColl Center of Art + Innovation. Roland received a 2021 Creative Capital Award. His work has been shown from coast to coast and is included in permanent collections in the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African American Arts & Culture in Charlotte, NC, and in the Studio Museum in Harlem, NY.

Leanna Pai

Leanna Pai, graduate of Meredith College c/o 2015 and Lesley University c/o 2019, is a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor Associate and Provisionally Registered Art Therapist. She is currently working as Psychotherapist and Art Therapist at Veritas Collaborative’s Child, Adolescent, and Young Adult Center in Charlotte, NC treating patients with eating disorders. Leanna holds 4 years of direct client contact experience in trauma informed work with a background in higher levels of care, domestic violence, sexual assault, and various hospital settings. In addition to direct client care, Leanna has most recently worked to develop art therapy curriculum for Veritas Collaborative’s Equity Diversity and Inclusion Council which is used throughout the hospital system. 


Evan Apple

Evan Apple is a current student at Meredith College. They are senior majoring in Studio Art with a minor in Psychology. They serve as the Event Chair for Pyschology Club and Vice President of the NAEA.

Their preferred medium is a variation between mixed media and fibers. They will have a Senior Exhibition in Frankie G. Weem Gallery from November 18-December 6, 2021.

This presentation is funded, in part, by a grant from South Arts in  partnership with The National Endowment For The Arts and North Carolina Arts Agency.

South Arts Logo with red and black letters.
National Endowment for the Arts text with a red and blue line underneath. website next to them.

Community Partners

Logo with a yellow icon and text that reads "NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Health | Wake County".