Tour the Coping Mechanisms exhibition with the support of an arts professional. 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 to the inadequate healthcare access that has long burdened communities of color and 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
Art can provide a point of entry for grasping such challenging statistics. Twelve artists whose work addresses the intersection of racism and mental health on a personal, human level are featured in an expanded version of Coping Mechanisms. Through photography, video, painting, and sculpture, the exhibition 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.
Coping Mechanisms is curated by Michael Coppage and Lauren Ponds. Artists featured: Michael Coppage, Asa Featherstone, IV, Taylor Gaston Davis. Dr. Tia Sherèe Gaynor, Pepper Johnson, Benjamin Pierce, Gaye Reissland, Vitus Shell April Sunami, Laurie VanBalen, Asha White, Donte Woods-Spikes. Sponsored by WeRISE for the Greater Westerville Board, Southeast Healthcare’s Fresh A.I.R. Gallery, and Otterbein University.