Art for Awareness Day Kicks Off Mental Health Month

Monday, May 01, 2006 | 07:00pm

NASHVILLE — May is recognized nationwide as Mental Health Month, and in Tennessee, a special event for persons in recovery was held on Monday at the State Capitol. Sponsored by the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities (TDMHDD) and the Middle Tennessee Mental Health and Substance Abuse Coalition, Art for Awareness Day featured the works of 40 mental health consumer artists.


The works are part of the Art for Awareness exhibit recently featured at Legislative Plaza in March. During Monday’s event, Governor Bredesen, TDMHDD Commissioner Betts, and several members of the 104th General Assembly were presented a unique piece of art created by mental health consumers to display in their offices throughout the month of May in recognition of Mental Health Month. Several regionally famous artists submitted works, including Rachel Barnes of Bristol, Anne Ambrose of Nashville, and Bobby Hernandez of Memphis.

“As an artist myself, I know how inspiring and uplifting it can be to create an original piece of art that belongs specifically to the artist,” stated Governor Phil Bredesen. “I commend the artists, as well as TDMHDD and the Middle Tennessee Mental Health and Substance Abuse Coalition for their collaboration in making this event such a great success and in bringing attention to the importance of art and the role it plays in recovery for these mental health consumers.”

“It is important and special that everyone has come together in support of this event. It is truly an honor to have the opportunity to display such wonderful art in my personal office.” stated TDMHDD Commissioner Virginia Trotter Betts. “I admire the courage and commitment of every artist who participated in Art for Awareness Day, and I am gratified that Governor Bredesen and several legislators were so enthusiastic and supportive of this effort.”

Art for Awareness Day was held in the Old Supreme Court Chambers in the State Capitol. During the event selected consumer artists from across Tennessee registered their works, met with their legislators, and had the opportunity to attend the General Assembly evening session.

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