By Ashley Altus
Celebrating art and self-expression as ways to combat suicide, nonprofit Hope for the Day hosted the third annual pop-up art show, (ART) WARENESS.
Everything from reclaimed wood projects to traditional oil paintings went up for raffle on the only night of the show to help fund their outreach and education initiatives.
“It’s ok not to be ok – have hope.” That’s the mantra for Hope for the Day. The group views art and music as expressive ways to heal and aims to educate communities on suicide prevention and mental health. By passing out cards with regional and national suicide hotlines listed on them as well as inspirational messages, the organization tries to reinforce the message of hope.
“It’s kind of nice when you combine [suicide prevention and mental health] with art and bring awareness. And people can understand that they’re here to enjoy art, but there’s a purpose behind it,” said Devrim Bayramly, a Chicago commodities broker attending the show.
She said she came to support the arts but also to honor a niece of a friend who recently committed suicide.
“Art is just dear to my heart,” Bayramly said.
Approximately 500 people attended the third annual (ART) WARENESS at antique and architectural resale shop Salvage One, 1840 W. Hubbard St.
Admission to the show was free. To raise money, attendees bought raffle tickets and dropped them in baskets next to their favorite pieces to hopefully win one of 58 pieces showcased in the raffle.
Hope for the Day is always trying to brainstorm unorthodox ways to raise money, said Carl Evans, director of programming and operations for the organization.
“We’ve considered auctions, but the raffle gives an ‘anyone’s game’ philosophy,” Evans said.
One of the goals of the night was to show donors how the funds help the mission of the organization. Through raffle tickets and donations, over $6,700 was raised to benefit the program’s outreach projects like Music Saved My Life, The Hope Defined Project and Beat Keepers.
“We want people to understand the transparency of where the money is going and what we do with the money that we raise,” Evans said.
Chicago artist Alison Meaney donated two pieces to raffle in the show. The Chicago Blackhawks inspired one of the painted pieces and autumn the other.
“This is one of the best causes I could donate art too,” Meaney said. “I feel like suicide is something that touches everyone and everyone feels the ripple effect from an attempted suicide or especially a successful one.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suicide was the tenth leading cause of death for all ages in 2013. About 9.3 million people reported having suicidal thoughts, according to the CDC’s 2013 survey.
“We want people to understand that these numbers are big, but there’s a bigger story behind the numbers which is that these are real lives, and it’s not hopeless,” Evans said. “We can reduce these numbers.”