It’s in Queens
#PickoftheWeek | Artistic event addresses mental illness
It’s a very difficult topic, but the response to last year’s event was so overwhelming that now it’s “back by popular demand.”
How We Create & How We Cope: Intersections of Art & Mental Health/Mental Illness will take place at the LaGuardia Performing Arts Center in Long Island City on Sunday, April 15, starting at 5 pm. Admission is free, but RSVP is requested.
This three-hour, open-and-honest event will feature multidisciplinary performances and presentations about mental illness, particularly in connection to creativity as an outlet, outcome, and survival mechanism. Attendees can expect poetry, dance, story-telling, and other forms of expression by local artists.
It will also be extremely personal, as many of those involved live with mental illness.
The curator and host is Audrey Dimola, a multi-published poet who organizes spoken word events around Western Queens and works passionately on mental health issues, awareness, and advocacy. The Astoria native hopes the event will validate people’s experiences by displaying real world stories and faces and helping people share resources and empathy. She also plans to address the following questions:
- How much of how we suffer makes us who we are and results in the art we create?
- How much of these feelings are the natural experience of the artist and when is it time to seek help?
- What do those forms of help look like?
The lineup includes Richie Alexandro, Lauren Hale Biniaris, Rachel Brown, Bryan Bruner, Jonathan Cherlin, Sam Combs, Lynne DeSilva-Johnson, Deborah Emin, Dina Gregory, Steven T. Licardi, Olena Marukhnyak, Danny Matos, Nick Neon, Bri Onishea, Buttered Roll, and Keys Will.
Dimola, who also works as the Director of Public Programs at Socrates Sculpture Park in LIC, held a similar event in 2017 that attracted overflow attendance at the Queens Council on the Arts (see above photo). So this event is set for LPAC’s 200-seat Little Theatre at 31-10 Thomson Ave.
Throughout history, many legendary artists suffered from mental illness. Think painter Vincent Van Gogh (bipolar disorder, hallucinations, and episodes of derangement), Beach Boys singer Brian Wilson (schizoaffective disorder), and writer Virginia Woolf (severe depression leading to suicide).
Images: Queens Council on the Arts
#awarenessisempathy #ItsInQueens #PickoftheWeek