Art Exhibition Features Artists With a Disability or Mental Illness

DES MOINES, Iowa – A central Iowa nonprofit that supports people with disabilities or mental illness is hosting an art exhibition.

Located at Hoyt Sherman Gallery, “Momentum: Works of Growth and Recovery” hosted by “Community Supports Advocates: Momentum Art Access” features 27 artists and 40 pieces of art.

All the artists featured have either a disability or mental illness.

Marshelle Smith suffers from post traumatic stress disorder and said she uses art as a way to escape.

“I just get this flow. I don’t know how to explain it. It just feels like there is a flow of air and it goes through me and just past me. It’s just amazing,” Marshelle Smith said.

Community Support Advocates President Christina Smith said the nonprofit offers free art opportunities for people with a mental illness or disability.

“We have heard artists talk about it helping with brain injury and shutting off their pain sensors. It can help with quieting voices, it can help with lots of different ways with the disability’s itself,” Christina Smith said.

Marshelle Smith has three pieces of art on display during the exhibition. All painted with experiences in her life.

“It’s a self-portrait and I named it “It’s Me.” This is my soul, there is my head, there’s my heart, there’s my gallbladder surgery,” Marshelle Smith said.

The exhibition is meant for the artists and community to come together.

“We find that a lot of times individuals impacted with disability and mental health issues have difficulty communicating what they’re feeling and being able to do that from art and then putting it out there for the community to see. Then seeing the community interact with that and being part of that exhibition is a phenomenal experience,” Christina Smith said.

The exhibition is Thursday October 11th at Hoyt Sherman Gallery. The artwork will be on display from 6:00-7:30 p.m.

There is a competition within the gallery. Winners will be announced Thursday night and will receive a $50 gift card to help pay for art supplies.

The public is welcome to the free event. Artists will have art for sale.