The Gallery at Penn College opens new season with ‘Mindful’

PHOTO PROVIDED The Gallery at Penn College will be debuting its ‘Mindful’ exhibit today.

To open its 13th season, The Gallery at Penn College offers an opportunity to encounter and unde­r­s­tand mental health through the lens of contemporary craft, with its first exhibition, “Mindful,” which opens today and runs thr­ough Oct. 11.

“The new season offers a series of thought-provoking exhibitions that tackle social justice and human rights issues,” said gallery directory Penny Lutz. “The first exhibition of the season, ‘Mindful,’ embraces difficult questions regar­ding our perceptions of mental health and attempts to bring this common illness out in the open and initiate dialogue and understanding. ‘Mindful’ features work by 13 contemporary artists who have either been diagnosed with mental illness or have been affected by it through friends or family.”

Organized by the Society of Contemporary Craft, “Mindful: Exploring Mental Health Through Art” studies the impact mental illness has on society, and the role the arts can play in encouraging positive self-expression and guiding effective mental health promotion and treatment.

A reception is set from 5 to 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 6 in the gallery, located on the third floor of Penn College’s Madigan Library.

In conjunction with the reception, a special lecture will be offered at 5:30 p.m. in the library’s second floor reading loft. Presented by “Mindful” artist Meredith Grim­sley, “Trauma: Legacy, Bio­logy and the Path to Healing” will discuss family history, the endurance of the human spirit and the gift of healing.

“We are pleased that one of the artists included in the exhibit, Meredith Grimsley, will be offering a lecture on Sept. 6,” Lutz said. “Grimsley will share her research concerning mental health, family history, personal trauma, and the implications of inherited trauma through epigenetics.”

In addition to Grimsley, the exhibition also includes work by artists Michael Janis, Grace Kubilius, Ian Thomas, Jesse Albrecht, and Joan Iversen Goswell.

The exhibit, reception and lecture are free and open to the public.

“Mindful” examines creative responses to mental disorders through the inclusion of works made by artists who have been diagnosed with, or affected by, mental illness. The show highlights a variety of techniques and forms that include innovative art expressions rooted in traditional craft materials, as well as art that explores unexpected relationships between craft and painting, sculpture, conceptual and installation art.

Accompanying the exhibit, the Madigan Library will host a hands-on activity designed by artist Grace Kubilius. The activity, which runs the duration of the exhibition, allows visitors to experience the contemplative, healing power of art-making by submitting their reactions to an ever-expanding “Thought Cloud.”

Educational programming, including a curriculum guide for schools, will also supplement the effort being put forth by the exhibit. Two one-day events will be held for veterans and high school students.

The gallery will also be hosting workshops in Sept. and Oct. The workshops are supported by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts and are free and open to the public.

Examples of workshops scheduled are: “Mindfulness with Meditation” sessions; “Connecting Threads,” an exploration of slow stitching; and “Inspirational Hand Lettering,” a starter practice utilizing markers. More workshops will be added in the coming weeks.

For more about The Gallery at Penn College, its hours and additional offerings, visit www.pct.edu/gallery.