RRC student aims to destigmatize mental illness
Winnipeg Free Press: THE METRO
By: Cindy Chan
A Charleswood resident is raising money and awareness in the name of art.
Second-year Creative Communications (CreComm) student Rebecca Henderson is organizing the first-ever 24-Hour Art-a-thon in support of Artbeat Studio (Suite 4-62 Albert St.) from Feb. 6 at 5 p.m. to Feb. 7 at 5 p.m.
Originally, Henderson proposed to throw a concert for her IPP, but that idea was shut down by a panel of instructors. She proposed the idea of doing an art-a-thon for Artbeat Studio, and the panel allowed her to do it.
According to Artbeat Studio executive director Lucille Bart, the studio is geared toward mental health recovery.
“It was started by my son Nigel,” Bart said. “Nine years ago, Nigel was diagnosed with mental illness in his first year of university and wasn’t able to carry on with his studies.”
Nigel eventually found that making pottery was helpful in his recovery. He studied and graduated with a degree in fine arts. Nigel is now the studio facilitator, working directly with the artists.
Henderson wanted to incorporate the studio into her project because she wanted to change how many people think about mental illness.
“Mental illness is so prevalent, especially in my life in particular. I have friends who have dealt with mental illness, so I wanted to help destigmatize it and (help people see) that you can live with your mental illness, and that it doesn’t have to be this taboo thing.”
During the 24-Hour Art-a-thon, artists will work on a piece of art in the media of their choosing. During those 24 hours, the public can view the artists at work on line*, as Henderson plans to have the event livestreamed. (*Article edit by Artbeat Studio)
Henderson explained that during the 24 hours, people can pledge money through The Winnipeg Foundation’s website (wpgfdn.org) on Artbeat Studio’s page.
“The Winnipeg Foundation has offered to donate a dollar for every five dollars pledged,” Henderson said.
At the end of the 24 hours, the artists will go on a well-deserved break but return to the studio for a celebration.
“The art pieces will be auctioned off, and that money will go back to the artists,” Henderson said. “Artbeat Studio has this amazing policy where they always give back to the artists and never take money from their artwork.”
Henderson arranged the donations and pledges so that the money from the auction goes towards the artists and the money from the pledges can go towards the studio.
“Artists are a marginalized group of people, and it didn’t feel fair to take their hard-earned money away from them,” Henderson said.
There will be live music and refreshments at the event.
For more information about the 24-Hour Art-a-thon, email Henderson at firstname.lastname@example.org