Art is widely thought to help ameliorate mental illness: to provide an outlet for self-expression, a way to quiet symptoms and intrusive thoughts. However, artists living with these conditions – and with substance use disorders, which frequently co-occur – are often unable to pursue or showcase their talents. Debilitating symptoms, unemployment, and other barriers preclude many opportunities. Widespread stigma and misunderstanding also encourage these artists to remain in the shadows.
Fresh A.I.R. Gallery exists to change this. Since its founding in 2004, the 25th anniversary of Southeast Healthcare, Fresh A.I.R. has grown substantially and had a tremendous impact on the community. To date, at least 310 artists have shown their work with us in more than 95 solo and group exhibitions. For the thousands of visitors who have walked through the gallery doors, these exhibits have challenged preconceptions, fostered empathy, and highlighted the tremendous abilities of those living with mental illness and substance use disorders. For the artists themselves, the exhibits have been a valuable part of recovery – renewing confidence, providing visibility, and opening doors to new opportunities.
Fresh A.I.R. Gallery continues to grow, building partnerships with organizations like the Wexner Center for the Arts, VSA Ohio, Ohio Art League, CCAD, the Columbus Cultural Art Center, the Columbus Museum of Art, and Ohio Prison Arts Connection. In 2019, we were honored to celebrate Fresh A.I.R. Gallery’s 15th anniversary with an exhibition at the Columbus Museum of Art, and to recognize our artists’ ongoing accomplishments and valuable contributions to the wider art world.
If you or an artist you know has been affected by mental illness and/or substance use disorders and would be interested in exhibiting artwork at Fresh A.I.R. Gallery, please visit our artwork submission page to fill out an application.
Recovery by Stephen Canneto
Lauren Pond is an interdisciplinary artist and curator with a background in photojournalism. She deeply appreciates visual storytelling and the ways it encourages human engagement and nuanced understanding. This has translated into her work at Fresh A.I.R. Gallery, where she works closely with artists to develop exhibits that share their stories of recovery, and that help foster new dialogue about mental illness and addiction. Lauren has been the manager of Fresh A.I.R. Gallery since 2015.
Public Relations Director
614.225.0980 ext. 1206
Myken Pullins has worked at Fresh A.I.R. Gallery (Artists in Recovery), a project of Southeast Healthcare, for the past 15 years. She has worked with hundreds of artists in all different stages of recovery from mental illness and substance use disorders and strongly believes that art plays an important role in their recovery towards healing. Coming from a family of artists, working in communications and finding collaborations for the arts and mental health has been a passion and priority of hers.