Mental health awareness through art with It’s Not A Gallery

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Kade Clemensen is from a remote town in Utah and has lived all over the world in places like Hong Kong, Denmark, Brazil, California and has been based in NYC for the past eight years. Travel and meeting people from different backgrounds is a fuel that inspires him. Kade’s main goal in his artworks and in founding It’s not a gallery, is to bring awareness to mental health in youth and the necessity to talk about it in a safe and supporting space.

He created the 30-30-30 project in 2018. A personal goal of traveling to thirty countries in thirty days, ending on his 30th birthday. The topic of discussion throughout the trip was; one thing people do each day to make them happy. Through the conversation and keeping a blog about the different stages of the trip, the goal was to start bringing mental health into conversation and raise awareness. Here you can view the website and see the people and places that made up his journey.

During this trip, he met his future art mentor, Vitaliy Yermolayev, who introduced him to luminescent paint. Exploring this method, he started a series of paintings about Light in the Dark. A series about the search of integrating all our parts that make us who we are. Kade’s artworks are an invitation to observe these opposites and see them integrate into an artwork. Potentially inviting us to look within, to find the light within our own personal darkness and accept that everything is what makes us who we are.

He gave a speech June 12th, 2019 at the United Nations on a panel discussing mental health and people with disabilities. His speech was focused on depression in youth, specifically ages 8-12. Kade spoke about his own experience dealing with depression, and addressed the importance of raising awareness and talking about it openly.

It’s not a gallery is a space that encompasses all of his learnings of the power of art and the importance to start having the conversation around depression and suicide.

“This needs all our effort and attention. Thinking in new ways about prevention will require financial resources. But the cost of prevention on mental health is far lower than the cost of dealing with the devastation that can follow in its wake. Both for the individual suffering and for entire societies and countries.

I invite you today to join in our campaign to destigmatize and demystify mental health. And in the process remind ourselves and children all over the world that it’s ok to open their hearts and share what they’re going through. And to remind ourselves to listen and offer support. To truly leave no one behind.”

We loved chatting with Kade, and seeing not only his stunning artwork, but also the creations of:

Breanna Catalina, @breezinthetreezart

Elizabeth Walsh, @elizabeth_walsh_art

Katie Willes, @katie.willes.art

Natalie Heileson,@lagombynatalie

We’re looking forward to what Kade does next, what with his montly events, and moving into a new space soon where he’ll be incorporating the mental health and wellness aspect even further. Follow along at www.itsnotagallery.com and reach him via kade@itsnotagallery.com

Deena Manzanares
Deena Marie Manzanares is a Utah native, but lived in NYC for a few years while attending the Atlantic Theater Company Acting School. Locally, she has worked as a professional actor for years in both stage and film.

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