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Through an open window the light shines

Art exhibit sheds light on mental health

lighteasel

By Megan Herrema | Echo

Minnetrista.

No, it’s not a misspelling of “ministries.”

It’s actually the name of a museum and cultural center in Muncie named after the Ball family’s home, which used to stand on the land now occupied by Minnetrista.

Since the beginning of September, Minnetrista has partnered with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) of Delaware County to host the art exhibit “Through an Open Window, the Light Shines.” The art and poetry exhibit captures individuals’ struggles with mental illness and their journeys into mental health.

According to Karen Vincent, director of collections for Minnetrista, the exhibit reflects Minnetrista’s mission to provide a community gathering place for cultural exploration.

“Exhibits, programs and the Minnetrista Heritage Collection focus on several themes, one of which is health and wellness,” Vincent said. “By hosting this exhibit, we hope to show that mental health is a vital part of the overall health and wellness of our community.”

The idea for the event began when community activist and artist Pam Nicholas presented the NAMI Board of Directors with a way to raise awareness for mental illness and funds for the organization through an art exhibit.

Jay Zimmerman, who serves on the NAMI Board of Directors, said he jumped on this idea immediately.

“We thought we could, through the arts, communicate a lot about mental illness and the journey into mental health in a way that would touch people . . . in a different way than if (they went) to a lecture about mental health and mental illness,” Zimmerman said. “The arts has the ability to touch people in deeper and more meaningful ways, many times, than hearing about statistics and facts.”

As a writer, artist and retired psychology professor at Ball State University, Zimmerman contributed to this project in multiple ways, including submitting two pieces of artwork and a poem to the exhibit. He said his experiences as a psychologist and professor are expressed in a variety of ways through his artwork.

Zimmerman expects over  2,000 people to attend the event before it closes at the end of October. The exhibit is displayed in a room also used for meetings and luncheons, increasing the visibility of the artwork.

“A number of people who may not have visited otherwise have been exposed to the art,” Vincent said. “It has been a moving and beneficial experience for many of our visitors.”

The exhibit will be open through Oct. 31. Exhibit hours are from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Sunday. An auction for unsold art will be held Oct. 28, with all proceeds benefiting NAMI.

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