A new exhibition is celebrating the work of local artists while breaking down barriers for individuals facing stigma and social isolation.
‘Visible: An Exploration of Intersecting Identities,’ which showcases work by Willow Arts Community members, is now open at the Visual Arts Gallery and Student Exhibition Space at Brock’s Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts (MIWSFPA).
The exhibition explores themes of intersecting identities and overcoming personal challenges through creative expression. Original works include paintings, sculpture, interactive videos and listening stations.
Located in downtown St. Catharines, Willow Arts Community (Willow) is an arts and peer support organization providing low-barrier opportunities for artists with lived experiences of mental illness or substance use disorder in Niagara.
The partnership between Brock University and Willow aims to provide an enriching gallery experience for community members. For Shauna MacLeod, Willow Founder and Executive Director, the ability to publicly showcase artwork is significant and allows diverse perspectives to be shared.
“This is an incredible opportunity for us to celebrate the original work of 41 Willow Arts members. This partnership provides a highly visible platform that helps us reduce stigma and break down barriers for the members of our community,” she said. “The artwork is exceptional, and the people we are proud to support are able to be visible in new ways.”
Sonya Marie de Lazzer, Gallery Co-ordinator at the MIWSFPA, co-curated the exhibition alongside MacLeod and was struck by the uplifting and positive energy surrounding the experience.
“From the early discussions of this show to the final exhibition coming together, there is so much spirit. We hope to continue to dream big with Willow, cultivating this special friendship,” she said.
The exhibition runs until Tuesday, June 6 and is open to the public Thursday through Saturday from 1 to 5 p.m. at the MIWSFPA, 15 Artists’ Common, St. Catharines.
More information about Willow Arts Community can be found on the organization’s website.