Yesterday afternoon, accompanied by nine members of the Wing & A Prayer Pittsburgh Players, I entered what turned out to be, the sacred space of the exhibit Mindful at the Contemporary Craft on Smallman St. in Pittsburgh. The exhibit is an exploration of mental health and mental illness by artists of various media with the aim of inspiring observers to begin conversations to break the stigma that has surrounded this topic for many generations.
Twenty-five or so other folks joined us as participant observers as we used the dancing, singing, story-telling forms of InterPlay, to join our stories and impressions to the images and themes presented by the individual artists and their creations. Playfully creating in that space revealed many deep truths about the connection between “us” and “them,” between our personal stories and the similarity of our family “secrets.” In responding to the art piece of a man coming out of a pill, for example we admitted that we too have trouble sometimes, taking our medicine as prescribed. We too conceal ourselves in insulated wrappings, sometimes called “fashion.” We too wear masks that blur our identity, even to ourselves.
The show, which originated here in Pittsburgh, has been extended to March 26th. Upon closing, it will travel to sites in Columbus, Ohio, Lynchberg VA, Virginia Beach, VA. Furgus Falls, MN, Brockton, MA. http://www.exploremindfulart.com/