The 90-some artists who participate in People Incorporated Mental Health Services’ Artability Art Show each have their own story to tell.
Sometimes it is about beauty, sometimes about struggles and survival, or humor and love.
This year’s show, which will open on October 25th at the Landmark Center in downtown St. Paul (75 5th St.), will feature a special installation of artwork by people who experience auditory hallucinations – they hear voices due to their mental illness – combined with recordings of the artists talking about their work.
The art for this installation will be created at a special workshop, co-led by artist Ethan Heidlebaugh, who just happens to be the winner of this year’s poster contest. Heidlebaugh participated in the show six years ago, and recently became involved again through the art workshops that are part of the Artability program.
A native of Cannon Falls, Heidlebaugh declared at the age of three that he was going to be an artist, and he’s kept to that pledge ever since. He mostly works in watercolor or ink and colored pencils. His winning piece, “Time Tunnel,” is a fantasy drawing reminiscent of old woodcuts created to illustrate fairytales, and includes a unicorn, a horse-dragon and a group of rabbits emerging from their burrow. A romantic castle rises up in the distance.
“A lot of my work is rather dark, but for this one, I wanted to do something lighter. I often include a small rabbit in my drawings, but this one has several,” said Heidlebaugh. “They’re coming out of their tunnel into the open to explore. It’s kind of a good metaphor for Artability because the show gives an opportunity to artists whose work isn’t often seen to come out and showcase their talents. It’s awesome for me to be part of Artability. The workshops have really inspired me this year, and I love to work with the other artists, like on the installation piece this year.”
The show will feature some 300 pieces of art, from landscapes and nature photography to anime and abstracts. The artists include those who are showing for the first time, as well as seasoned artists who have exhibited their works in the Twin Cities and beyond. Artists can sell their works at the show, and keep 90 percent of the sale price (the remaining 10 percent goes back into the Artability program).
“I want the world to see what I can see through this eye inside of me,” said Heidlebaugh about his work. “I hope everyone will come to the show to see and hear all the artists’ stories.”