MHAI 28th Annual Gold Bell Gala

Over the past few months, I’ve had the pleasure of participating in a phenomenal art project put together by Mental Health America of Illinois.

I feel so honored to have had my work exhibited with the creations of so many other talented artists, and I wanted to make a post to highlight some of the pieces that displayed at the Gold Bell Gala, and to say a very emphatic thank you to everyone who contributed.

I have met so many big-hearted and compassionate artists, authors, mental health workers, and even city representatives while working on this project. The Manifesting Healthy Futures project managed to bring people together who otherwise may never have had a reason to meet, and share their stories.

It renewed my hope. It showed me that people care. It provided me with a real way to honor my brother Shelby’s memory. It accepted my ongoing grief, and gave me a positive outlet for it. I’m so grateful.

I am in awe of the amazing Mary Ruth Coffey, Brooks, Dave, and all the people at MHAI for bringing this project into the world and giving us all a place to put our massive amounts of feelings and creations.

Thank you also, to Senator Michael Hastings, Representative Greg Harris, and Alderman Matthew O’Shea for their continued commitment.

Everyone involved has inspired me in some way — thank you for your work, and your dedication to promoting mental health awareness, and suicide prevention.

One of my photos, “Light.”


To the woman in this photo: Thank you for bidding on my piece! I was happy to hear you say you intended to put it in a white frame — that is exactly what I would have suggested.

A live painting.

The amazing Mary Ruth:


And, here are the .jpg versions of both of my pieces, for anyone who hasn’t already seen them.




A big thank you to the authors whose stories inspired my photos, Shasha Porter, and Sue Barizon.

You can check out all of the artworks and short stories here, and you can also preorder the book that the fine folks at MHAI are currently in the process of publishing.




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