Day 333 Seeing

November 7, 2015

(If we live with an open and grateful attitude, every day will bring a gift. This is one of 365 gifts during the year I turned 70.)

Cheryl Maxwell looks up at her favorite of her sister's paintings in an exhibit What Love Looks Like: Sisters, now showing at New Beginnings Barbershop and Gallery. The vibrant paintings are those of artist Carolyn Anne Watts who committed suicide in 2010. Colette Veasey-Cullors's photos shown with the paintings are intended to capture some of the quiet, introspective side of Cheryl. This is one of many exhibits and forums initiated by the New Day Campaign to encourage conversations about mental health and addiction.

The walls have eyes. They are in the vividly colored paintings on the walls of New Beginnings Barbershop and Gallery across from the Hollins Market in southwest Baltimore. One person tonight exclaimed, “That painting is what l see inside my head!” The exhibit is about two sisters. One sister, Cheryl Maxwell, was at the exhibit opening tonight. Her sister, Carolyn Anne Watts, was not but her voice spoke through her art on the walls. One of Cheryl’s favorites depicts a pattern of abstract faces with one eye open and another not closed but vacant. 

One eye sees, the other feels.” ~ Paul Klee

What Love Looks Like: Sisters is part of the New Day Campaign that is a 92-day “initiative using art to challenge stigma and discrimination associated with mental illness and addiction, making the world a more healing place.” This is offered in the form of exhibitions and events. The New Day Campaign founder, Peter Bruun, lost his daughter to a heroin overdose in 2014; Cheryl Maxwell lost her sister to suicide in 2010. 

Cheryl, through The Carolyn Anne Foundation and her sister’s art, hopes to encourage conversations focused on mental health issues, especially those concerning children. Cheryl and Peter both see art as a conduit. Why art? On the New Day Campaign’s Web site is the answer: "Currently, those who suffer from mental illness and addiction are more likely to be met with fear and judgment than with compassion and acceptance. In the New Day Campaign, art is used as a humanizing antidote to prevailing dismissive attitudes, bringing people in as little else can — and once in, people can learn new truths about mental illness and addiction, and acquire accepting and compassionate attitudes toward those who suffer.”

The power of art reveals what lives and hides inside us, fosters conversations, changes minds, educates, connects, encourages empathy and acceptance, releases and raises emotions to new heights, helps us find truth and ourselves. 

Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” ~ Pablo Picasso

My gift today is Carolyn Anne’s art.


New Beginnings Barbershop and Gallery (*See below for more events at New Beginnings)

New Day Campaign       

Carolyn Anne Foundation    
> Day 334: Blowing Leaves

You can find links to my other posts on this project here:

* Upcoming events at New Beginnings:

New Day Campaign Presents

Calendar of Events
Location: New Beginnings Barbershop & Gallery, 1047 Hollins St., Baltimore 21223

About It: Faith-Based Community  - November 17, 2015, 6-8 p.m.
Rev. Dr. James Fuller, Pastor Emeritus, New Hope Baptist Church
Dr. Michael Torres, Psychiatrist, Adventist Healthcare

Faith-based communities are ripe settings not only for breaking silence around mental illness and addiction, but also for undoing stigma associated with traumatic experience or sexual victimization. At this community dialogue, we explore such topics.

Talk About It: Schools – December 1, 2015, 6-8 p.m.
Katie Connor, LCSW-C, Lead School Based Manager, Hope Health Systems, Inc.
Kristen Goodreau, LCPC, School Based Manager, Hope Health Systems, Inc.

When risk is high for mental illness and addiction, interventions must be designed to meet the needs of children in school. How do we recognize a child’s mental health symptoms, and what do we do? What must happen to bring effective means of detection and interventions into the school setting, and how do we influence the cultural climate so that there is more ease with discussing behaioral health challenges?

Talk About It: Young People – December 15, 2015, 6-8 p.m.
David Fakunle, B.A., Pre-Doctoral Fellow, Department of Mental Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Dr. Halcyon Francis, DSW, LCSW-C, Psychotherapist, H.F. & Associates
Olayinka Lawal, WombWorks, Inc.

In a culture where the notion of “blackness” equaling inferiority is still far too prevalent, an entire generation of young people is at risk of not achieving the self-actualization essential to ongoing mental health. How do we engage young people in discussions of mental illness and addiction so that shame and blame are removed?

(In partnership with Carolyn Anne Foundation, Inc. and sponsored by Marian House)

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