An OPEN SPECTRUM Conversation with Artists on Mental Health, Featuring Panelists:
A’Driane Nieves, aka addyeB, multidisciplinary artist
Caits Meissner, poet, artist, cultural worker
Loubna Mrie, writer and photojournalist
Sydney Magruder Washington, professional ballerina, mental health advocate, and singer
Moderated by Dior Vargas, Latina feminist mental health activist
Curated by Brian Tate
The stigma that surrounds our mental and emotional health is astonishing when you consider how many of us are grappling with heightened bouts of anxiety, depression, mania, and fear. Those conditions can spring from an array of factors, including our genetic wiring, which may contain data from historic traumas; the blunt impact of present-day racism, misogyny, xenophobia, homophobia, greed, and other forms of inhumanity; and the kinds of sudden, devastating losses that can arrive for anyone at any time.
Then there is the psychological harm that is done for the sake of spectacle. The tearing apart of immigrant families, the criminalization of asylum seekers, the relentless policing of black and brown people, the unsubtle endorsement of White Nationalism, the travel bans and mass deportations, the threats of nuclear war, all meant to rattle the nerves of marginalized communities and people of conscience.
These issues impact artists in a particular way. Artists have a unique ability to challenge society and advance the culture, but those who acknowledge darkness alongside joy can find themselves put at social and professional risk: in an age of aggression, vulnerability is easily mistaken for weakness. But some artists are empowering us to consider our mental and emotional health as parts of our whole selves, and to accept any gloom that may exist there as inseparable from the qualities that also make us luminous and powerful. What new potential comes revealed with that kind of embrace?
About OPEN SPECTRUM:
An intimate conversational platform founded on the belief that
cultural institutions can and should be a catalyst for societal
transformation by participating in a world of ideas. Open Spectrum
provides a space for community dialogue on the most vital issues
facing our community today, engaging participants in active listening,
constructive discourse and action planning.