Self-Care: A Mental Health Journey Through COVID-19
Featuring Julia Caston
Exhibition Dates: October 12 – November 7, 2021
Location: Frankie G. Weems Gallery
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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
*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.
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
About the Artist
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.
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 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, 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 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.