Wednesday, December 2, 2009

‘Mindful Art’ supports mental illness programs

Benefit features valley artists

Express Staff Writer

Kathryn McNeal is a participating artist for Mindful Art for NAMI. Photo by Willy Cook

Art can be healing, which is why the National Alliance on Mental Illness in the Wood River Valley decided to hold its second annual Mindful Art for NAMI. The fundraising exhibition received 96 entries, which have been on display since Friday, Nov. 27, at Iconoclast Books in Ketchum.

All participating artists used a 12-by-12-inch Masonite board and gave the finished pieces to NAMI as part of a silent auction, which will close with a gala reception on Sunday, Dec. 12, from 6-9 p.m. at Iconoclast Books.

Bidding for the art auction starts at $100. Half the money from each work of art auctioned will go to the alliance and the other half to the artist or may be allocated to the Gary Hunt Hedrick David Children's Fund. The variety of art ranges from collector items from area established artists to avid supporters of NAMI.

"Mental illness has a stigma," said Tom Hanson, NAMI's past board president. "People with mental illness need to be accepted. Artists are tuned into feelings and are more sensitive, which is the connection of this event to mental illness."

Proceeds raised from Mindful Art for NAMI will assist in funding Peer-to-Peer counseling and a Family-to-Family Education Program. The Family-to-Family Education Program is a free, 12-week course for family caregivers of people with a mental illness. The course offers most current information about mental illness, medications, empathy, awareness, problem solving, crisis intervention, care, community support/services and advocacy.

Peer-to-Peer counseling is a program for people challenged by mental illness and needing to be reintegrated into the community.

"Family-to-Family allows family members to find support for their struggle," said Eve Hart, a NAMI board member, area counselor and contributing artist.

Major mental illnesses include depression, bi-polar disorder, schizophrenia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder and post-traumatic stress.

"The suicide rate for our population is very high," said Wendy Norbom, a part-time executive assistant for Wood River Valley Chapter of NAMI. "We are in the top 10 for the state system on reporting suicides."

This year, silent auction bidders need to register to have a number for bidding. To register for bidding, call 309-1987.

Sabina Dana Plasse:

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