Saturday, May 18, 2019

We Rise L.A.! The 2019 Mental Health Art Experience

This is the rare weekend post, as I can't say enough good about the We Rise L.A. art show for mental health taking place now through May 27th in downtown L.A., and I want as many people as possible to experience it for themselves!

It's an entirely inclusive and immersive show, with different areas like "Create", where you can make your own screen printed posters, with messages like "You deserve infinite support and love" - which you do.

In the room called "Engage" you could mix and mingle with others, or take a break for yourself with some kombucha on tap and snacks like churros, as you watched a big Iphone bringing up messages from people arguing via text, that feel like how that usually goes. There was also a mirror being adorned with positive messages. It's a family affair, as this little girl was really into it, and though some subject matter may warrant explanation - or protection - communication is always a good thing, and kids can handle a lot more than we know ... especially these days.

So much damage in adults is leftover from traumas experienced as kids, and this show addresses a lot of that. Kids whose parents are incarcerated. Kids who have been separated from their families at the border. Kids who have been abused. Kids who have seen too much, as you can imagine from the piece called The Child. (Please forgive the lack of credits - the first draft of this piece disappeared when the internet went down and I'm trying not to have my own mental breakdown as I re-type this whole article after I already deleted the photos of the credits. Ugh and apologies, but go yourself to get all of the info!).

SueƱos was especially heart-wrenching, as it depicts immigrant kids embracing their mothers through bars. I still can't wrap my head around the fact that we as a country allow this to go on. We need help.

Each piece in the art galleries has to do with some aspect of mental health, and while some are heavier than others, all pack a punch and instantly provoke thought and self-examination. It can't be helped.

Monarch Cluster might seem like a gorgeous bunch of butterflies, but to me it said you're not alone.

I looked at this photo and wasn't quite prepared for the gut punch that the title delivered ... Thank You For Your Service was the title of a photograph showing homeless U.S. veterans. Like, THIS is how we thank our men and women in service?! It's shameful - again.

The Parish Hall list of events shows how messed up America really is, even as we proclaim to be a Shining Beacon Of Light To The World. Yeah. Right.

Nipsey Hussle WAS a shining beacon of light to his community, until it was recently snuffed out by more of the constant senseless gun violence in this nation.

There were a couple of self-portraits that complimented each other, and also showed how scrambled up we can feel inside of our own minds sometimes. The first was by Adam Enrique Rodriguez ...

...And the next one was called Hanging On By A Thread, which is how I've personally felt a lot these days, and I know I'm not alone - especially after seeing this show.

A bed was hanging on by thicker threads as it levitated above a bedroom installation called In Limbo, that a lot of people were digging and photographing.

The art galleries are loosely arranged by issue, from incarceration to domestic abuse, from immigration to women's issues to social media. The women pieces were very powerful, yes, because I am one, but also because we've been so under attack in recent times. I can really go off on this topic, but for now I'll leave it at the fact that NO man should even be discussing any issue relating to a uterus if they don't have one. I could care less about any male perspective on this, and really don't even want to hear it. Sisterhood IS powerful.

You can tell the power of one sister just by her gaze and the tilt of her chin in Viva Yalitza!

I always love the work of Ashley Lukashevsy and its feminine power, like this year's piece, Space.

As you meander through the galleries, you hear music and talking coming from the cavernous main hall where the seminars and performances happen daily throughout the run of the show. You will be enriched by any that you attend, whether it pertains to you personally or not, you will get something from the beautifully and consciously curated discussions and music. One wall shows exactly what's going on ... All The Feels!

The other wall reminds you in the form of a plush, cozy wall, that You Are Safe Here - and you really get that feeling here. That people truly care, and that they truly want to help you.

A couple of my favorite pieces were hung beside each other, one was City Of Refuge - a little shanty town sculpture, and next to it were beautiful screen windows with floral embroidery, called Screened In. I can't believe I never thought of this, and now want to beautify every screen window I see.

I loved another piece of embroidery, as I love hummingbirds - but I loved it even more when I saw that it was called For My Struggling Students.

As you walk through the galleries, you're being watched by cameras bearing the logos of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram ... just like in real life!

There is an area dedicated to social media works, and a very hipster guy and I were standing there reading the same ones and we looked at each other at the same time, and he said, "Do you have chills?" I did, and it was one example of how you can connect with a total stranger over a common feeling - and that is the power of this magnificent artistic and humanitarian endeavor that was obviously put together with so much care and conscience.

A giant living wall reminded everyone to Breathe In The Present Moment, and that was the advice I probably most needed at this time. That, and that once again, people care. We're not alone. Everyone has their own struggle. Communication and connection are crucial to getting through this thing called life, and this beautiful show personifies that.

Every day of the show's run offers different programming and addresses different issues, all of which will be rewarding to attend. In fact, at one point I turned to my friend at the opening night party, and said, "Everyone here is better off for it." Truth, and the beauty of that is that it spreads, because then we all go out and talk about it, and we're all closer for it. Humanity at its best, delivered through art, without judgement. That is how we can go forward ... and protect our spirits.

Please give yourselves the gift of attending this show. You too will be better for it. THANK YOU to all involved in this special and important art experience. You are helping.

*Special shout out to the excellent people, food, and service of Lupetti Pizzeria, right around the corner where we celebrated being alive after. Thank you!

We Rise L.A.
1262 Palmetto Street
Los Angeles, 90013
Now through May 27th


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