A Gallery That Gives Back: Art For Healing
- Melissa Maguire
…has the power to shift perspectives, evoke an emotional response and transform struggles into healing. The Perception Project harnesses the power of healing art to honor survivors of trauma and brings about important conversations of mental health to our community. The Perception Project is an LA based, non-profit gallery founded by artists Suzy Khrom and Elizabeth Burton, whose mission is to empower by creating collaborations between local artists and survivors of mental illness, abuse, and trauma. On a sunny southern California day, I was greeted warmly at the downtown loft and studio headquarters by Darius, the marketing, branding consultant, and Suzy’s fiance. The sun-drenched loft was overflowing with art. Immediately, I was drawn to two abstract expressionism pieces rich with texture by Christina Lewis and Yoon Jung. The first piece by Lewis, I Have Arrived, created immediate tranquility. The use of overlaying hundreds of pieces of paper created depth and the appearance of a layered past. This depiction is one that was multifaceted through the difficulties and courage of the survivors' experiences. Yoon Jung’s Embrace Your Tears appeared to be almost galaxy like, full of wonder, darkness and tremendous power. The piece falls under a more traditional abstract expressionism painting, yet it is anything but boring, with its contrast and relationship between light and dark. In Jung’s work, the emerging and evolution of the survivor were very clear; a story of a survivor who has dealt with profound darkness and brought back to light.
…and survivors who want to become collaborators must apply by submitting an in-depth questionnaire. The Perception Project screens and evaluates the submissions, seeking the best fit. Once united, the survivors are invited to communicate their stories and their artistic preferences to the artist with whom they are matched. The artist then creates a work aimed at telling the survivor’s/muse story. The works are not for sale, and the survivors remain anonymous. The work will be featured in exhibitions that the gallery presents to the public and then gifted to the muse. The Perception Project held its first exhibit in November 2018. The concept was created to provide both healing for survivors and visibility of surviving trauma to the public. If you are interested in attending a future event, you can find information here.
…ended our tour and conversation with what she wanted the viewer to take away from the experience. “I hope that through this work, we can show the public there is a real need for it. Art is a potent tool, and when used in the right way -- in a safe way -- it can really change someone's life. The conversation around mental health awareness is very apropos right now. Our goal is to create awareness and reduce stigma; people on both sides can benefit from this organization.” Visiting the Perception Project was a delight, and the gift given to both the survivor as well as the viewer is empowering and lasting.
Feeling inspired to help give the gift of artistic healing? Donate here!
Feeling motivated to donate your time? Volunteer here!