ROCHESTER, Minn. (FOX 47) – An interactive traveling art exhibit aiming to remove the stigma around mental illness and increase understanding about mental health is coming to the Rochester Art Center this month.
Part of the exhibit comes in three “prescription gardens” spread across Rochester.
Jess Hirsch is the mastermind behind the gardens which invite visitors to think about anxiety by connecting with plants and meditating. Participants can sit on a bench and call a hotline to listen to guided meditation inspired by plants that treat greed, aversion, and delusion.
“It’s a muscle that we need to exercise every day is taking care of our mental health. What my hope is that the gardens will remind us that nature can also be a teacher in that mental health journey, and the simplicity of engaging with nature can be very healing,” said Hirsch.
Sheila Dickinson, the Rochester Art Center artistic director says the exhibit will be similar to a traditional museum with text and art.
Approximately 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. experience a mental illness, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
“If you yourself aren’t struggling with mental health, that means someone you know is. That’s why it’s important everyone to learn more about it in a way that’s fun and interactive, it’s very different than reading about it and watching videos, and produces a conversation.”
Visitors will have a chance to enter the living room of a man with depression and hear his inner dialog, along with the perspectives of his close family members. There will also be paintings, sculptures, drawings, and other artwork.
The exhibit will be open Tuesdays through Saturday, May 25-Sept. 10.