New York, NY — On Thursday, April 20, Fountain House Gallery will be hosting its YELL! Art Auction & Benefit at the Prince George Ballroom in New York City to celebrate its member artists — all of whom live with serious mental illness — and their most ardent supporters.
The evening, emceed by CBS News anchor Tanya Rivero, will honor the Art for Justice Fund (A4J) as this year’s recipient of the Esther Montanez Leadership Award. The national donor collective, founded by renowned philanthropist Agnes Gund, was created in 2017 to make cutting-edge grants to organizations and leaders doing impactful work in criminal justice reform. By leveraging art as a strategic and influential tool to both raise funds and build public will to end mass incarceration, the Art for Justice Fund continues to demonstrate how art can be a powerful force for meaningful change.
“We’re thrilled to be the 2023 recipient of Fountain House’s Esther Montanez Leadership Award,” said Helena Huang, Project Director of the Art for Justice Fund. “Both A4J and Fountain House believe in the dignity and rights of all people and work to inspire a society free of stigma and inequality. Together, we celebrate the transformative power of art to shift narratives, bear witness, and build a future where shared safety is available to all. To be recognized by an organization whose values and approach we deeply admire is a true honor.”
“It’s our immense honor to name the Art for Justice Fund the recipient of this year’s Esther Montanez Leadership Award,” said Rachel Weisman, Director of Fountain House Gallery. “In such a short span of time, A4J has catapulted hundreds of artists, advocacy groups, and organizations, including Fountain House, in their work to dismantle the cruelties of the criminal legal system. A4J embodies how art is not just an expression of what we’d like to see in the world but an actual catalyst for change. We couldn’t be more grateful for their partnership.”
Original works by Fountain House Gallery artists, curated by writer Roxane Gay, will be on display throughout the evening and available via auction with all sales going directly to member artists.
The event will also include the exclusive premiere of Fountain House Gallery’s upcoming immersive installation — and namesake of this year’s benefit, YELL! — which provides an intimate and provocative look at navigating life with mental illness. The exhibition, funded by the Sozosei Foundation, features a maze of modules — each encapsulating a topical theme, such as trauma, stigma, identity, hospitalization, hope, and recovery — that speaks to the country’s broken mental health system while celebrating the strength and perseverance of Fountain House members. The YELL! installation will be on public display in front of Macy’s iconic Herald Square headquarters (34th St and Broadway) from May 18-22, 2023, during Mental Health Awareness Month.
“The YELL! art installation is a culmination of months of planning and collaboration. I’m proud of this endeavor and how it has brought our Fountain House and New York City arts community together,” said Muhammad Abdullah, a Fountain House Gallery member artist. “We hope the intensity and magnitude of YELL! will make people everywhere open their eyes and see why speaking up and not turning a blind eye to difficulties in life is the way to go. Healing from the hits that life throws at you is possible with the right friends, resources, support, and patience. Sometimes, you gotta take it day by day. Sometimes, minute by minute, and there’s nothing wrong with that.”
For more than 20 years, Fountain House Gallery has worked exclusively with artists impacted by mental illness, providing a dedicated space where they can express their creative visions and exhibit their work.
To learn more about Fountain House Gallery and its growing community of artists, visit FountainHouseGallery.org.
Fountain House is a national mental health nonprofit fighting to improve health, increase opportunity, and end social and economic isolation for people living with serious mental illness. Founded in 1948 in New York City, Fountain House originated the clubhouse model of community mental health that has been replicated more than 300 times in nearly 40 U.S. states and in 30 countries around the world.