CIAA to host mental health awareness exhibit

Reception slated for May 4


In recognition of May being Mental Health Awareness Month, the Central Iowa Art Association (CIAA) is partnering with area artists and mental health advocates and agencies to bring the community a public therapeutic art and mental health awareness exhibit, on display inside the Fisher Community Center Auditorium, from May 4-25.

Around 20 local artists (with more expected to participate), will have a variety of works on display, varying in subject matter and medium.

“It will be any type of artwork that person made to use as a therapeutic relief,” said CIAA Executive Director Keeley Weeks. “We live in a society where 1 in 4 people suffer from some form of metal illness in any given year, and nearly half of those people go without some form of therapy or help.”

Weeks noted how as part of the CIAA’s outreach within the community, it has offered a series of art programs and classes touting the benefits of art as a form of therapy.

“We want people to know, that as an art center, we’d love to partner with local mental health agencies to offer art therapy, and we’ve started to do that, and also in the nursing homes,” Weeks said.

On Thursday, May 4, from 5-7 p.m., the public is invited to attend a free artist meet and greet and reception, as a kick-off to the exhibit. Author and mental health advocate Joan C. Becker will serve as special guest speaker. She will share her story of son Mark Becker’s plight in prison, as he serves a life sentence for killing Aplington-Parkersburg football coach Ed Thomas back in 2009, and his struggles with schizophrenia.

“Mark has had success using art therapy in prison, and Joan is going to bring some of his art pieces to the Art Center,” Weeks said.

In addition, representatives from several mental health agencies will be on hand with information and resources pertaining to their services. Refreshments will be served.

For more information on the exhibit and reception, visit: or contact Weeks at 641-753-9013.