Bossier Parish Community College is hosting an art exhibit entitled, “Out of the Darkness: Representations of Mental Health,” to shine a light on mental health disorders. The exhibit is on display now through March 29 in the Donna Service Art Gallery, located on the College’s campus at 6220 E. Texas St. (Building A), Bossier City.
“Out of Darkness” is a juried art exhibit featuring artists (both student and professional) from Northwest Louisiana. The artists were asked to submit artwork that represented different types of mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, and PTSD. They were also asked to give descriptions of the artwork submitted, which are included in the artist list attached. Works include paintings, drawings, photos, printmaking, ceramics, mixed media, fiber art, and glass art.
The idea for the exhibit came from BPCC Art Instructor Lily Thompson.
“‘Out of the Darkness’ is an art exhibit that reflects common mental health disorders,” says Thompson. “We think it is important to educate students, faculty, and staff about how common mental health disorders are, especially in college. We also want everyone to know about all of the local resources that are available to help them if they are suffering.”
Brett Malone, an exhibitor in the show, expresses how art has helped him through dark times in his life.
“During depressive episodes in my past, everything seemed very dark as if looking through smoky glass or being stuck in the bottom of a deep well,” says Malone. “As I would begin to emerge from the darkness, there would be a brief moment of lucidity – or clarity – as if the lights came on and I could see in color again. [Creating] Art, for me, has been an integral part of my healing.”
Malone submitted the painting, Lucidity. “This heavily textured minimalist painting represents the contrast between depression and seeing the world in all its glorious colors once the darkness has passed.Lucidity was also the painting that helped me get ‘unstuck’ when in my deepest depression after my mother’s death in 2000.”
In conjunction with the exhibit, BPCC is also hosting two events, which will both be held in front of the Donna Service Gallery. The Student Mental Health Information Fair will be held from 11:30 am-1:00 pm on Wednesday, February 27. Non-profits such as United Way, David Raines, BPCC’s Crisis Intervention Counselor, CADA, Samaritan Counseling Center, and Teal Rose will be here to give students information on local resources and answer any questions they may have on getting help.
The Closing Reception and Panel Discussion will be held from 4:00 pm-6:00 pm on Wednesday, March 27. The panel will discuss various topics on mental health. Artist awards will announced and light refreshments will be served.
“I personally hope the exhibit and the 2 events associated with it helps alleviate the stigma that is sometimes associated with mental health disorders,” says Thompson. “I want people to realize that it is common and even normal to experience depression or anxiety in college and in life. The important thing is not to suffer alone. We have so many great resources available. I hope it helps those suffering reach out for help, and those not suffering to have more compassion and a better understanding of those that are.”
The exhibit, information fair, closing reception, and panel discussion are free and open to the public.