The 2022-23 Lewiston Youth Advisory Council membership recently held its first meeting, and the group decided to first focus on mental health awareness.

Each shared concerns they have, in particular about their peers who have struggled throughout the pandemic, as well as in current situations in their lives. The group also is interested in Lewiston’s growing public art scene and would like to boost mental health awareness through artwork, according to a news release from the city of Lewiston.

As such, the youth council is putting out a call for artists of all ages to forward them a photograph, sketch, painting or graphic design, 11-inches by 14-inches or less, in an effort to educate community members about mental health, remind viewers they matter, and help break the stigma that often surrounds individuals with mental health challenges.

Submissions can be mailed to the Lewiston Youth Advisory Council at the City Administrator’s Office, Lewiston City Hall, 27 Pine St., Lewiston, ME 04240.

A brief video, less than three minutes, can also be submitted at [email protected]. A title; one or two sentences explaining the piece; and contact name, number, and email should accompany each submission.

Submissions that are selected by the council will be displayed at a fall community forum, the date of which is to be determined, where speakers and mental health advocates will also be on site to share and interact with others. The deadline to submit artwork is Wednesday, Oct. 5.

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Artwork submitted will become the property of the council, which has the sole discretion as to whether a submission is accepted for forum display. If a submission is chosen for display, the artist will be contacted for completion of an art release form.

Depending on the response, the council may also develop the submissions as a traveling exhibit at places that would like to display the work, such as a school.

LYAC’s Feysal Abdirahaman said, “Mental health can impact all of us. The challenges are real, and they can happen to anybody. Others may be oblivious to what others are experiencing, but it’s very real.”

Themes depicted in the artwork should include kindness, personal experience, encouragement and respect for others.

 

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