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UICA's Art and the Mind": A Look At Art & Mental Illness

Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts

The Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts, or UICA is hosting a special discussion on Art and the Mind.  New works by a well-known local artists’ experience with mental illness will be the backdrop for a thought-provoking conversation. 

“Sometimes we can have great art because you’ve been diagnosed. So Rick is really pushing forward that his diagnosis opened his mind a little bit, to understanding more about himself and his art.  And he’s creating art that is beautiful. That is reflective.”

That’s Miranda Krajniak, Executive Director for the UICA.  She says they’re hosting a discussion on Art and the Mind following a request from renowned Grand Rapids artist, Rick Beerhorst.  His artwork will serve as the backdrop for the panel discussion, “Art and the Mind”.

“Rick’s been an artist in this community for many years.  But a few years ago was diagnosed with bi polar disorder, and changed his outlook on life and the artwork he was creating, so he really wanted to put art, artwork, and art therapy into context for the audience.  So he requested that we work with the mental health foundation of West Michgian and put together a panel that could shed the light on mental illness and the work of artists.”

Miranda says art is part of everything they do at the UICA, so it was important to use the artwork as part of the program.  The panel will included perspective from numerous backgrounds, including a therapist, an artist who has worked with mental illness and someone in the medical field. Grand Rapids’ Poet Laureate, Marcel Price will serve as the moderator.

“So, I really hope the audience spends some time thinking about the wider implications of mental health on our community and how we provide services on mental health.   And the insipiration that illness can have on their artwork and that can be a very positive thing.”

“Art and the Mind” is Thursday evening from 6 to7 pm. Tickets are 5 dollars and can be bought at the door. 

Jennifer is an award winning broadcast news journalist with more than two decades of professional television news experience including the nation's fifth largest news market. She's worked as both news reporter and news anchor for television and radio in markets from Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo all the way to San Francisco, California.