This project, Sacred Spaces: Cultivating Hope, promotes community wellness, advocates for mental health, and makes art accessible to all. The project consists of an exterior mural painted on four vertical wooden panels anchored into the ground in an outdoor garden space. This space will give the community a chance to come together in nature and find peace and solace in a time of crisis. In 2014, I was diagnosed with severe anxiety and depression disorders. Through years of therapy, I began using painting as a tool to cope. I call my paintings Sacred Spaces because they are imagined environments that I created for myself to have a place of escape. These spaces, derived from my thoughts and emotions, became sacred because painting them and reflecting on them was a coping mechanism for my own struggles with anxiety and depression.
When I first began creating these paintings, I was imagining them as a portal to the afterlife. If I ended my life then and there, those spaces were where I wanted to go. There is no pain and no trauma in these spaces, only healing and hope. As I worked through my anxieties, these Sacred Spaces led me to have a much brighter outlook on life. The paintings themselves took on lighter colors. They became places of exploration and new discovery.
When the COVID-19 pandemic began, I began to focus more on my mental health and inner peace, as many others did. Many did so out of necessity; as the pandemic continues, the anxiety and depression rates in the American population are rising. One thing I turned to was gardening. The act of grounding and earthing yourself has so many healing benefits for your mind and body. Sacred Spaces: Cultivating Hope mirrors that experience, providing a physical garden space not only full of nature, but also larger than life. In that painted botanical space, people will be enveloped in safety and given the space to reflect inward and seek solace.
For this project I am seeking funding for painting supplies (which includes house paint, drop cloths, brushes, sealants, etc.), transportation of materials, and installation time. Sacred Spaces: Cultivating Hope will connect people to themselves and their community in a time when that connection is especially needed. We simply cannot get through this pandemic or a national mental health crisis individually. Not only do I want my work to combat mental illness and promote mental health, but also create a space to nurture community wellness as a whole.