May is Mental Health Awareness Month and the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health is hosting a monthlong series of free community programs and events to highlight the healing power of art and connection for residents of all ages.
The initiative, in its fourth year, is called WE RISE.
Dr. Jonathan Sherin, who heads the Department of Mental Health underscored the importance of reaching out to others.
“Connectedness is vital to mental health and wellbeing, more so now than ever as we begin recovering from the multiple collective traumas experienced across our county this past year,” Sherin said, calling WE RISE a “heart-forward opportunity and movement built to empower our diverse communities to come together for strength and healing.”
The Art Rise component — which aims for vast scope — includes 21 outdoor art experiences created in collaboration with artists, museums and cultural institutions. It stretches across the neighborhoods of downtown Los Angeles, Koreatown, Mid-Wilshire, Leimert Park and South Los Angeles, highlighting the work of more than 35 artists and collectives.
Installations are open from sunrise to sunset. More information on the art is available at whywerise.la/art-rise/. The Los Angeles County Museum of Art will transform part of its construction fence into an exhibition wall.
Community pop-ups, workshops and other events will be held throughout the county.
One of the community pop-up projects is co-director Leila Hamidi’s “Love Letters in Light: Messages of Hope, Heartbreak, Resilience, and Love to a County on the Mend,” an installation with over 300 messages from local poets and artists, installed at 10 Los Angeles County libraries in LED message boards. People can submit to lovelettersinlight.la.
Workshops and other community events are all free and geared toward being hyperlocal, safe, socially distanced and family-friendly. They include mobile murals, live dance and music performances, cooking classes, healing meditations, art-making, storytelling and more.
CicLAvia will partner with the artists at Subsuelo for a music-powered bike ride tour of Central Avenue. Some events are virtual or drive-through and include a book giveaway with books in Spanish and English.
“WE RISE is a celebration of wellbeing, healing and resiliency, which is of greater importance as we emerge from the challenges created by the public health pandemic,” Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger said.
“This initiative, and our ongoing efforts to enhance mental health resources and services for our residents, is an integral part of the county’s ongoing commitment to support our communities.”
More information is available at werise.la, including an event calendar and map. New events are continually being added to the schedule, which will extend to the end of the month.
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