What's Left: Lives Touched by Suicide

A multimedia exhibit to create a proactive community dialogue about suicide and mental illness with a goal of reducing the stigma surrounding them. 

On display: May 5 - June 29, 2017
Opening Reception: Saturday, June 3 (noon - 2 pm)
 

  This multimedia exhibit intends to create a proactive community dialogue about suicide and mental illness with a goal of reducing the stigma surrounding them. There will be an open public reception on Saturday, June 3rd from noon - 2 pm, some of the artists will be present and the project coordinator, John Bauer will be speaking. 

Suicide and mental illness are major health problems that affect everyone. The topic is often viewed as taboo, and family members left behind can feel stigmatized and unable to talk openly about their experience and grief. What’s Left provides a space for participating artists and the broader community to reflect on the impact of suicide and mental illness and explore the use of artistic expression in the process of grieving, healing, and expressing hope.

The project originated with Grand Rapids, Minnesota, resident John Bauer who lost his daughter Megan to suicide in 2013. Bauer’s experience in the aftermath of his family’s tragedy is what sparked the idea for an art exhibit as a way to encourage community conversation.

“Whether on the phone or on the street, most people just didn’t know what to say to me,” said Bauer.  “How could they if they haven’t been through something so horrific. To develop a vocabulary for talking about suicide, we have to be able to talk about mental illness as well. Not in whispers or disrespectful laughter. We need a culture shift where we all take responsibility for addressing the stigma associated with suicide and mental illness. That burden should not be on me and my family alone, nor should it fall to other families who have come before or after us.”

Over 45 of Minnesota’s finest artists working in painting, poetry, sculpture, graffiti, glass, fiber, photography, and more have contributed artwork to the project. Audience members of What’s Left will also have the chance to listen to an interactive audio installation of stories from survivors.

What’s Left is a traveling exhibit with a goal of reducing the stigma surrounding suicide and mental illness and raising awareness about mental health recovery and suicide prevention. The exhibit is designed to be displayed in a wide variety of settings including community centers, art galleries, schools, and libraries and is available to travel to communities across the state through 2018.

This activity is made possible in part by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Arrowhead Regional Arts Council, thanks to appropriations from the Minnesota State Legislature’s general and arts and cultural heritage funds. Additional funding is provided by the Blandin Foundation, Grand Rapids Area Community Foundation, Miller-Dwan Foundation, Northland Foundation, and many private donors.