Asa Featherstone, IV

Coping Mechanisms

Art at the Intersection of Racism and Mental Health

Featuring artwork by:
Michael Coppage, Taylor Davis, Asa Featherstone IV, Dr. Tia Sherèe Gaynor, Benjamin Pierce, Gaye Reissland, Vitus Shell, Laurie VanBalen, & Asha White

View select works from Coping Mechanisms in the virtual exhibit below. The exhibit is also on display at the Bridge Gallery (located inside the building at 400 W. Rich St., Columbus, OH, 43215) from July 9 to August 16, 2021. It is open to the public during Franklinton Friday on July 9 and August 13, 6 – 10 p.m. and by appointment. Email freshairgallery@gmail.com or call 614.744.8110 to schedule a tour.

Join us for a panel discussion on Saturday, August 14 from 6 - 7:30 p.m. at 400 W. Rich Street as part of the Be The Light Mental Health Gallery Exhibit! For details and guest registration, please click here.

Coping Mechanisms takes place as America begins to reckon with its systemic racism, something that became especially blatant in 2020 – not only with the murder of George Floyd, but in the devastating and disproportionate toll of the coronavirus pandemic. According to the CDC in May 2021, Black people are nearly twice as likely to die from COVID-19 as white people in America, and Latino, Hispanic, and Indigenous people are nearly two and a half times as likely. These and other stark disparities point not only to the inadequate healthcare access that has long burdened communities of color, but to the stressors and inequities that regularly contribute to distress, poor health, and vulnerability. It points to racism as its own pandemic, one that impacts mental, and in turn physical, well-being

When data and statistics like these are difficult to grasp, art can provide a point of entry. In collaboration with Cincinnati artist and activist Michael Coppage, who works in the behavioral health field, Fresh A.I.R. Gallery curated the works of eight artists whose art addresses the intersection of racism and mental health on a personal, human level. Through photography, video, painting, and sculpture, the exhibit addresses issues such as dehumanization, intergenerational trauma, and the cumulative mental effects of microaggressions and biased language. It also invites visitors to engage with these sources of mental duress and begin the work of dismantling them.

Portraits from BLACK BOX project by Michael Coppage

What If? by Laurie VanBalen

Scroll to Top