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Greetings and Salutations,
Mental illness is a social challenge. Art brings people together. Change begins with simple ideas. Painted Brain started as a simple idea, a magazine as a method to bring together a community who might not otherwise find each other. The magazine idea arose a year into the art group I started in 2005 to challenge the isolation I saw among the cool, insanely talented young adults that sought my help. That group wanted to meet people from other agencies, and the magazine was the platform. It was as simple as that. Five of those people are actively involved to this day.
Painted Brain is an incredibly personal project for me because I believe that our society’s biggest challenge is accepting individual difference. I helped bring together, and then myself joined, this most excluded group of humans: the mentally ill. I am of that group, a guy with some seriously crazy ideas and a healthy dose of depression to balance it all out. The community we have built is built on social connection, the very thing that our mental health system fails to provide. Art creates community, and now Painted Brain is a nonprofit. In the same month this summer that the IRS granted our nonprofit status, the building that housed our community center closed to become high cost apartments. But we are stronger than ever and our programming continues with free arts activities around the city four days a week.
The absence of our physical space only proves the vitality of our community. In our first year as a nonprofit, we will hit the ground running with a hard-earned $250,000 annual budget from group sales, a recently awarded Kaiser Community Fund grant, and a new contract with LA County Department of Mental Health. This pays for our staffing but not for our next space, and we need your help.
Our mission is to create lasting community-based solutions to mental health challenges and the impact of social injustice through arts, advocacy and enterprise. In September we will be building community through the arts in almost twenty different settings, but we need a place to call home.
As a nonprofit, we have to be mature about creating financial sustainability, thus the initial focus on our services, the revenue engine of our lasting community solution. While we build that, you can help us open the coolest community center in LA. Right now, we need a place to call home. Every $18,000 we raise will add almost 1,000 square feet to our space for a year, and we intend to raise $80,000. Help us house our community. Sincerely,
LCSW Executive Director, Painted Brain