The Color of Success

It’s been about a year since we participated in One Spark. We made a lot of connections during the 5 day festival. One Spark gave us the courage to grow and helped validate the idea of bringing art groups to those living with mental illness in Jacksonville. One Spark was challenging. The five 11-hour day festival promised a constant flow of people. Volunteers probably repeated I Still Matter’s “pitch” at least 150 times a day.

Let’s take a walk down memory lane. Inside Out is now Jacksonville’s largest multi-media art exhibit created to destigmatize mental illness. The first installation was at One Spark with 36 canvases.

InsideOut

Since One Spark the exhibit has grown to 63 canvases and has been displayed at FSCJ’s North Campus, Church of the Redeemer, and it is currently installed in the Main Library in Downtown Jacksonville where it will be on exhibit until mid-June. By the end of the year it will be displayed at Baptist Health campuses across Jacksonville!

Thanks to our partnership with PARC Foundation we came in 3rd place in Mike Davidson Fords Good Guy/Good Gal Contest!

Thrill the World danced to Michael Jackson’s Thriller and donated proceeds raised to I Still Matter. Proceeds from this fundraiser helped us create teen art groups over the summer!

We created the First Annual St Mary’s Art Walk where 20 local artists sold their art and over 200 people attended! We helped St Mary’s Church & Community Outreach raise $200.00.

Our Director attended several speaking engagements with organizations in the community increasing awareness about mental health. These organizations included NAMI Jacksonville’s (National Alliance on Mental Illness) Family to Family class, AAIMHI (African American Mental Health Initiative) and Beaches Presbyterian Church.

Over 85 people attended our community art groups! We even hosted a group on Thanksgiving Day!

We partnered with River Region to help facilitate an art workshop for individuals in their in-patient rehab facility.

Our Director led an art workshop titled “The Hand We’re Dealt” at the First Coast Girls Initiative’s “Advocacy Is Healing” workshop.

Once we learned about the number of increased suicides within the indigenous community in Cross Lake, Manitoba Canada, we created our Circles of Hope project.

There are a total of 189 hand-woven circles that took 49 volunteers, 40 hours and 4,000 combined feet of yarn, ribbon and thread to make!

We also attended a fundraising event for NAMI Jacksonville called DeStigmatizeMe where we set up a “Prayer Wall” where people wrote their prayers & wishes for individuals living with mental illness.

One of the best things we did to end our sort of official {but not-so-official} year is make a coloring book! Fifty-two local and international artists came together to manifest this beautiful coloring book! Individual and corporate donations included NAMI Jacksonville, PACE Center for Girls and Chamblin’s Uptown. This would not have been possible without them. Books are currently being sold on our website and at Vagabond Coffee Co. in Murray Hill.

We owe a lot to One Spark and it’s been an extremely busy year but we have a lot of new memories to make, promises to keep and miles to go before we sleep…

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