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    First Lady Yumi Hogan to host reception for behavioral health art show
    20 artists to shine in Annapolis exhibition to raise awareness, fight stigma
    Annapolis, MD (March 24, 2017) – The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s Behavioral Health Administration is announcing an art exhibition featuring 20 Maryland artists who use their art to challenge the stigma surrounding behavioral health issues and to raise public awareness. The exhibition will be held April 24 at the Lowe House Office Building with an opening reception hosted by Maryland’s First Lady, Yumi Hogan.
    The exhibition has been organized by a committee comprising representatives from government agencies and nonprofit organizations in Maryland. These groups include Health and Mental Hygiene, the Maryland Department of Disabilities, the Maryland State Arts Council, the Mental Health Association of Maryland, the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependency of Maryland and the New Day Campaign.
    A statewide call for submissions was distributed to artists throughout Maryland in early 2017. On March 13, 2017, members of the planning group were joined by guest jurors George Ciscle, Curator-in-Residence at the Maryland Institute College of Art, and Izabel Galliera, Art History Professor at McDaniel College, to review submissions from dozens of artists. Twenty artists were selected to exhibit their art based on three criteria: artistic excellence, narrative content addressing behavioral health matters, and personal commitment to championing de-stigmatization and public awareness.
    The selected artists are: Shelley Amsel, Raymond Bartock, Ben Cricchi, Margaret Dowell, Joanne Dvorsky, Dan Ellis, Gloria Garrett, Shannon Gerrity, Phylicia Ghee, Robin Gilliam, Linda Hubsham, Sam Jesner, Claudia Krizay, Michelle LaBonte, Christian McCarroll, Anthony Ness, George F. Spicka, John Viles, John Wise, and Jane Young. To read about the artists and see samples of their work, go to http://behavioralhealthartshow.com/gallery/.
    “The work of these artists is an incredibly important component of building awareness and challenging stigma around behavioral health issues,” says Kathleen Rebbert-Franklin, the director of Health Promotion and Prevention for the Behavioral Health Administration, and a member of the planning group. “We are so pleased to recognize their work and to have the First Lady demonstrate her support of these issues by kindly hosting the exhibition and reception.”
    The behavioral health awareness art event is being held at a time when Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan has declared a state of emergency related to an opioid epidemic. Behavioral health problems can include such substance use disorders as alcohol and drug addiction, as well as serious psychological distress, suicide, and mental disorders. According to the World Health Organization, approximately one out of every four people has been affected by a mental health disorder at some point in life.
    “Stigma is a real problem when it comes to opioid addiction in particular, but really with all behavioral health issues,” says Lea Gilmore, Executive Director of the New Day Campaign, a Baltimore-based organization dedicated to using art programs and public engagement to challenge stigma and discrimination associated with mental illness and substance use. “Artists play such an important role in prompting conversation about these hard issues and in humanizing those affected by what they really cannot control. I am honored to have our organization be part of this important art exhibition hosted by the First Lady.”
    First Lady Hogan, an artist in her own right, is committed to bringing awareness through the arts to a variety of behavioral health issues. In addition to hosting the Behavioral Health Awareness Art Show, the First Lady is chairwoman of “Celebrating Through Art: The First Lady’s Mental Health Awareness Youth Art Display,” which also will be held at the Lowe House Office Building with a reception and gallery viewing May 8 at 4 p.m. For more information, go to https://goo.gl/MHN1Dz.   
    In addition to celebrating the 20 artists chosen to exhibit at the “Behavioral Health Awareness Art Show,” the reception on April 24 will include live music, resource information, a special presentation by First Lady Hogan, and a community conversation on the role of art in healing with the exhibiting artists. The conversation will be moderated by the founder of the New Day Campaign, Peter Bruun. Members of the press are invited to schedule a viewing of the show and interviews with the exhibiting artists. Contact Bruun to schedule: 410-916-3752, peter@newdaycampaign.org.
    Event details
    What:               Reception for the 2017 Behavioral Health Awareness Art Show, hosted by
    First Lady Yumi Hogan
    Where:             Lowe House Office Building, 6 Bladen Street, Annapolis, MD 21401
    When:              Monday, April 24, 5-7 p.m., with remarks beginning at 6 p.m.
    Cost:                Free and open to the public.
    Note:                All adults must bring photo ID for entry into the House Office Building.
    Marylanders who need help finding substance-use-disorder treatment resources should visit http://MdDestinationRecovery.org or call the Maryland Crisis Hotline, which provides 24/7 support, at 1-800-422-0009. For information on many of the policies currently implemented to fight substance use disorder and overdose in Maryland, see http://goo.gl/KvEzQw. If you know of someone in need of treatment for a substance use disorder, treatment facilities can be located by location and program characteristics on our page at http://goo.gl/rbGF6S.
    The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is the State agency that protects Maryland’s public health. We work together to promote and improve the health and safety of all Marylanders through disease prevention, access to care, quality management, and community engagement. Stay connected: www.twitter.com/MarylandDHMH and www.facebook.com/MarylandDHMH. ​