On March 21, the Center’s Brushes with Life: Art, Artists and Mental Illness Art Gallery (BWL) was on the road again – this time to UNC Charlotte – to exhibit at the Art of Recovery event. The exhibit featured art from Brushes with Life artists, the movie by the same name, and artwork created by local area Charlotte artists who are adults living with mental illness. This event was sponsored by the UNC-Charlotte Department of Social Work and several community partners with funding from UNC- Charlotte’s Chancellor’s Diversity Grant. Two hundred visitors registered for the exhibition.
BWL Gallery Director Julie Pace, MS, OTR/L, explains that the Charlotte artists were exhibiting their artwork for the first time in a public space, which added to the excitement of the event. These artists talked about their art and the role of art in their recovery and educated guests about the stigma associated with mental illness.
UNC’s traveling 15-piece exhibit was a sample of the art that hangs on the third floor of the North Carolina Neurosciences Hospital. Award-winning filmmaker Philip Brubaker shared his short documentary “Brushes with Life.” Following the screening, he was available via Skype, and both he and Pace answered questions about the gallery and the film.
“This show gave the Brushes with Life gallery a great opportunity to expand beyond the Triangle area. It allowed us to give more exposure to our wonderfully talented artists and to further our goal of reducing stigma through public education,” says Pace.
“The show was very well-received and several people asked if we would be starting a gallery in Charlotte.”
Each year the Brushes with Life Art Gallery features two opening receptions at its main gallery space in the North Carolina Neurosciences Hospital on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus. Gallery art has also been shown at many different venues since its inception in 2000, including the North Carolina Museum of Art, the Raleigh-Durham International Airport, the FRANK Gallery, Carolina Theater, Varsity Theater and UNC’s Global FedEx Building.