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Omphaloskepsis Blog

Art & Social Change: “The incredible intensity of just being human”*— de-stigmatizing mental illness.

Apr 8, 2013

For Immediate Press Release

                  Kill Date: April 24, 2013

Washington State Arts Alliance Foundation Presents:


Holly Ballard Martz’ grief knot (grieve not) 2012, 12” x 12”, encaustic and mixed media on panel.

Art & Social Change

Curated by Esther Ervin, June Sekiguchi, Kathy Fowells, Cheryl Shaw, and Fiber Artist Paul Kuniholm Pauper and Conceptual Artist Matt Kandegas


Kate Vrijmoet’s A need so great and deep it can never be swallowed, 2010, 64" x 100, oil on canvas

When: Monday, April 22 – Wednesday, April 24, 2013, Private exhibit for conference attendees and press.

Reception: April 23, Tuesday 5:30 - 6 PM

Hours: Monday and Tuesday 10 AM – 5 PM and Wednesday 10 AM – 12 PM.

Where: Conference of Cultural Congress, Seattle Convention Center Northwest Rooms: Olympic Room, corner of 1st Ave. N and Republican St. 5-7-12_NW_Rooms_Map.pdf map of Seattle Center camput and NW rooms location

Contact: Kim Thomas at kim@wsartsalliance.com or 206.448.1909, Esther Ervin at reinassa@ix.netcom.com

Art & Social Change: “The incredible intensity of just being human”*— de-stigmatizing mental illness.

Curator June Sekiguchi participates in the Art & Social Change exhibit at the 2013 Conference of Cultural Congress April 22-24 at the Seattle Convention Center. www.culturalcongress.org Sekiguchi and her artists, Kate Vrijmoet and Holly Ballard Martz, intend to shed light on the affect mental illness has on individuals, loved ones, and ultimately our society, and to de-stigmatize what is felt from our culture.

Martz’ ongoing series Crooked Thoughts is an attempt to come to terms with her daughter's diagnosis as bipolar and the subsequent grief. “It is my hope that with open discussion we can begin to dispense of the stigma surrounding mental disorders.”

Vrijmoet: “When my own son was 15, our family was plunged into crisis. My newborn was seven days old at the time. I remember it like a dream from which I cannot wake—sitting in my office when my son entered, ‘Mom, I have something to tell you.’ Looking frightened and tense as he held up his wrists to show me what he had just done.”

In Vrijmoet’s work water is a metaphor, both for keeping afloat and for a tide of change. The way that water alters gesture, conferring ambiguity and disguise but ultimately revealing all, suggests the necessity of opening our eyes under water, learning to see through moving water. Amid fear and loss and disorientation, we are signaling wildly; this could be a time for making new connections and building new strengths

The Arts Alliance produces the annual Cultural Congress, a collaborative conference that brings together a diverse group of cultural leaders to strengthen skills and cultivate partnerships through intensive workshops, peer dialogue, and dynamic speakers. www.culturalcongress.org The Cultural Congress is supported by ArtsWA, 4Culture, Seattle’s Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs, The Seattle CenterTheatre Puget Sound and the Boeing Company.

Each exhibit curator provides a distinct interpretation of the theme Art & Social Change corresponding with day 1 of the conference. Esther Ervin of Esther Ervin Creative Source — "Takin' it to the Streets" from the Doobie Bros. It takes a view of life on Seattle streets, the good, the bad, the ugly as seen by 4 local artists; June Sekiguchi of Era Living, and Method Gallery — “The incredible intensity of just being human*— de-stigmatizing mental illness.;  Kathy Fowells of Columbia City Gallery—a retrospective of the Columbia City guest gallery, how it is using art to educate the community about the diverse population that lives within the community; Cheryl Shaw of C Art Gallery—the mental, emotional and physical struggles of man, and Fiber Artist Paul Kuniholm Pauper and Conceptual Artist Matt Kandegas collaborate to make oblique references to the patently obvious need for social evolution.

You can see more of Vrijmoet’s and Martz’ work at: Holly Ballard Martz and Kate Vrijmoet: The Human Condition Curated by June Sekiguchi up through May 22, 2013 Daily 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. Aljoya Thornton Place, 450 NE 100th ST., Seattle, WA 98125, Contact: June Sekiguchi at curator@junesekiguchi.com or 206-713-7819


* Curator Anne Ellegood, Senior Curator Hammer Museum of Art in Los Angeles. New American Paintings 97


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