Content warning: article mentions mental health challenges in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Frankie G. Weems Gallery in Gaddy-Hamrick is holding an exhibit titled "Self Care: A Mental Health Journey Through COVID-19." This exhibit will run from Oct. 12 to Nov. 7. The exhibition features the work of Julia Caston, an artist with a diagnosed anxiety disorder, who creates pieces that display her raw emotions.
In hopes of connecting her work to the greater community during the pandemic, Caston selected 10 diverse artists, including some Meredith students, to contribute to her exhibit. Those artists include Clarence Heyward, Rebekah Evans, Jasmine Best, Yuko Taylor, King Godwin, Lydia Gunn, Kristin Morin, Elizabeth Kemple, Kasey Vandenboom and Isabel Ruiz.
Self Care features two 30-foot art pieces that represent a timeline entailing Caston’s experiences with mental illness. The exhibition’s press release states that “the project helped Caston develop a way of coping with the realities of COVID-19 and the impact it had 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.’’
There have been multiple events coinciding with this exhibit that promote self-care and mental health awareness. There has already been an opening reception, a Zoom gallery talk and one of four art therapy sessions. The remaining art therapy sessions will be held on Oct. 21, Oct. 29 and Nov. 4. The first two remaining art therapy sessions are tailored specifically to BIPOC students and activists. There will also be a Zoom panel discussion on Oct. 26.
The gallery operates Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday through Sunday from 2 to 5 p.m. A mask must be worn at all times within the space and pre-registration is not necessary to visit the gallery, unless attending the special events. There is no cost for entry, and the exhibit is open to the public.
If you or someone you know is in a crisis, please call or text the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255. The Meredith College Counseling Center is also available at 919-760-8427 for appointments. For more resources on where to find help at Meredith, check out the Counseling Center’s website.
By Rania Abushakra, Staff Writer