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UNTITLED by Helen Lane / Watercolor, 2014

inside] out Arts offers classes and a unique visual storytelling program, PhotoVoice, for individuals living with mental lllness. Their art is showcased in an annual exhibition that benefits the artists and the core programs of Compassionate Touch Network. The project originated in 2012 with the vision of Santa Fe advocate Cheryl Brown who developed websites "Advancing Suicide Prevention" and "Suicide: Finding Hope" after the suicide of her son who had bipolar disorder, and artist Michele Altenberg, whose son has a mental illness. It has grown to include many professional artists and volunteers who offer mentoring and art classes at the residential and drop-in centers in Santa Fe and Albuquerque.

inside] out is bold in its goals and compassionate in its mission. Our objective is to give those in our community, challenged daily by mental illness, an opportunity and a venue for making and sharing their art, professionally framed and exhibited in an art gallery setting.

The event takes place in recognition of the nationally recognized Mental Illness Awareness Week, which was established by Congress in 1990 to raise awareness about mental illness.


Mental illnesses are the leading cause of disability in the United States, yet they are one of the most misunderstood. The numbers are staggering. Millions of men, women and children live with mental illness each day - the latest data shows this to be approximately one in five adults and youth between eight and nineteen.

Much research has been done that reflects the power of arts programs in reducing self stigma and public stigma surrounding individuals living with serious mental illnesses. inside] out was developed to generate compassion and reduce discrimination around people with mental illness.