Are you okay? I am not, and that’s okay. Posted on September 27th, 2022 by

On Wednesday, September 28, 2022, from 5:00-6:30 p.m. the Schaefer Art Gallery will host the opening public reception for its newest exhibit entitled “Are you okay? I’m not, and that’s okay”.

The exhibit is the culmination of the work of Gustavus students enrolled in Dr. Colleen Stockmann’s Critical Issues in Art course and examines how art institutions address and interact with social issues including mental health and well-being. Uniquely, this exhibit is created in conjunction with Nobel Conference 58: Mental Health (In)Equity and Young People.

Junior Eli Simon describes the exhibit as “an interactive art show that helps detox from busy life. It’s about mental health and trying to recenter yourself and pull away from what’s going on in the world for a few minutes.”

An especially hands-on experience, this exhibit invites its participants to immerse themselves in the various installations designed to engage their senses within topics of creative expression and self-reflection. In describing the unique nature of the exhibit, ceramic sculptor and Studio and Visual Arts Program Manager, Professor Nicolas Darcourt, says that “this exhibition focuses on participation and experience, so the visitors to the gallery are not static viewers anymore. Instead, the interaction with each station would be considered to be the artwork itself.”

Senior Julia Severson says that “I feel that sometimes it’s hard for people to describe their emotions but when you’re in the exhibit there are lots of tangible ways to be able to express yourself.”

“There’s something to be said for focusing on our campus and having this be a way to help students connect directly with the Nobel Conference through this tangible set of experiences. Getting connected to these bigger-picture conversations about mental health was one of the goals of this show,” says Dr. Colleen Stockmann.

Through this exhibit, the creators hope to be able to incorporate an awareness of mental wellness into everyday lives and to reinforce the idea that it is okay to not be okay.

The opening reception for the exhibit will be open to the public from 5:00-6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, September 28 in the Schaefer Art Gallery at Gustavus Adolphus College. The exhibition will be on display until October 4.


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