Mental health put at forefront of ART(is)T Therapy Artisan Market

(ABC 6 News) – For the second year in a row, local artists gathered for the ART(is)T Therapy Artisan Market. A chance to celebrate art, and to support the National Awareness on Mental Illness (NAMI) in southeast Minnesota.

"Watercolor painting and writing has always kind of been there for me during the hard times," said Kristy Johnson who owns Bravery in Bloom. "So this was something that kind of came out of that difficulty and it’s really brought a lot of joy into my life.

What hard times? Johnson is a periodontist. In her free time, she makes art for Bravery in Bloom, a name she chose to celebrate creating new things and to help her bloom as an artist and a writer.

"Being my first art market, this has kind of been one of those other acts of bravery that kind of goes into what I’m all about here. It’s been a really big step for me to kind of put myself out there as an introvert."

Melissa Eggler is the brains behind the market.

"These past two years when we didn’t have a place to show the art that we create because of the pandemic, it was really important to be able to have a space to show like our art heart," said Eggler, the owner of Don’t Judge A Book Recycled Creations. "Like if you look in each person’s booth, you see their heart and their soul."

Eggler shares her art in a unique way. Reusing different recycled materials.

"Each one of these is a situation or each one of these is a hard time or a sad news story. When that art is complete, you know, you have an intimate relationship with that piece. It’s very difficult to put it out there for people to judge. But when you do that, it’s just affirmation that you matter and your art matters."

Johnson spoke on how supportive the Rochester art community is: "Rochester has just a beautiful art community. There’s no competition. Everybody just embraces everybody else."

When asked what advice artists have for those not ready to put their art into the world, they said "just take a risk."

A portion of Sunday’s proceeds will support the local branch of NAMI SE MN.