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Embracing Life image
Spectrum: Embracing Life features work by Alessandra Piro,
Karen Dawn Dean, Lisa Robinson, Nicola Stewart and
Sheryl Smith.

Spectrum: Embracing Life

Open for Friday Friday Arts Walk, Aug. 7, 5-7 p.m.
Continues through summer

The MAC Gallery presents a collaborative, experimental installation by students from the ART200 Advanced Painting Seminar, who endeavored to fill the space with a compelling work of art that also illustrates statistics of incidences of mental illness in America. This project is born out of the idea that we do not talk about mental health, even though almost half the population is diagnosed with one or more mental health issues. Spectrum takes mental health's secrets and forms them into a bold, colorful design, creating beauty from where beauty is often not seen. The installation invites viewer participation, allowing the public to help construct the evolving form by tying on pieces of colored gauze representing personal connections to various mental health conditions.

Spectrum gallery imageMaterials and forms were chosen to represent the group's feelings about the subject, using rolls and strips of dyed and painted gauze bandaging materials arranged according to their painting sensibilities into waves of expression reflecting the patterns of these kinds of illnesses.

The installation represents percentages of Americans diagnosed on the mental health spectrum. According to National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI) data, one percent of the population is diagnosed with schizophrenia, so one percent of the interior installation design is yellow. The rest of the percentages used in the interior panel design are as follows: eating disorders, 10%; anxiety disorders, 18%; drug and alcohol addiction 10%; depression and bi-polar disorder 9%; and post-traumatic stress disorder 8%.

Spectrum creates an opportunity for a visual conversation about mental health and the viewer is invited to participate. Take the hanging gauze from the hanging bars in any category with which you have experience. This could be your own personal experience or through its effects on a friend or family member. Tie the cloth(s) onto the outside of the panels. In doing so, you have a place in our installation process of creating beauty out of something uncomfortable. All of the artists who created this work have direct and indirect connections to one or more of the category walls. Our ties have been placed on the outside panels. Join us in placing yours.

This installation is dedicated to the memory of Dawn LaRae Petre, faithful, dedicated and caring mental health therapist, Comprehensive Mental Health, Ellensburg, WA.


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MAC Gallery
Wenatchee Valley College Music and Art Center
1300 Fifth Street, Wenatchee, WA  98801

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