New exhibit at Pittsburg State focuses on mental illness

PITTSBURG, Kan. – There’s a new exhibit at Porter Hall on the campus of Pittsburg State University. It’s focused on mental illness. We spoke with the artist behind the exhibit and has more.

Jared Jennings is not just a former Pitt State student, he’s an artist and he’s an art teacher at Porter Hall. He created the works now on display, which he calls “Nature versus Nurture”. Jennings says “It started out from my own experiences, wanting to talk about like, really understand what I was going through, and then it moved to kinda wanting to give other people a voice and tell their stories also.”

Jennings is hoping that as people view the exhibit, it will open their eyes to those fighting mental illness and encourage those struggling to reach out. “I hope we can start that conversation, I hope people can go out and actually talk to someone about something they haven’t really been able to talk about.”

Morgan Rexwinkle is a Music Education Major at Pitt State. She also struggles with mental illness and has her own creative outlet. “When I am sad, struggling with mental illness, I let everything go into music, because that’s my life, it’s been my life forever and it just helps to absorb everything that’s going on.”

She says it’s great to see how others express their internal battles. “I definitely think it’s interesting to see everybody else’s interpretation of mental illness and what it means to other people because it can be totally something different to you than what it is to me.”

Jennings says there’s one key takeaway from the exhibit. “Before you’re a man or a woman, before you’re white or black, Christian or Jewish or something like that, you’re a human being, that comes first before anything and mental illness is something that plagues people everyday, but it doesn’t control them and it doesn’t make them any less of a person.”

The exhibit will run through October 25th.