Common Ground: Finding Connections Within Our Human Struggle is a collaborative project between the SPAACES Art Foundation, the FACEing Mental Illness project (led by Sarasota Herald-Tribune columnist Carrie Seidman) and SRQ Strong, a group of area residents committed to increasing awareness about the impact of trauma and promoting healing. The goal of the project and exhibition is to reduce prejudice and discrimination against anyone who has struggled with trauma, thoughts, feelings or any diagnosed or undiagnosed mental health condition. Participants will be paired to create a work of art, in any medium, that explores the commonalities in their mental health experiences. It is open to anyone whose mental health challenges have had a significant impact on their life.

Common Ground is an extension of Faceing Mental Illness: The Art of Acceptance, an art/journalism project that took place in 2016-17 and culminated in an exhibition of self-portraits from people with mental health challenges at Sarasota’s Selby Public Library. The goal of that exhibition was to educate and inform the public about the realities of living with a mental illness and  reduce stereotypes and misconceptions to create a more supportive, inclusive community where having a brain disorder carries no shame or stigma.

Like its predecessor, the objectives for Common Ground are twofold: To normalize mental health experiences and reduce stereotypes, and to empower individuals with lived experience to serve as educators and advocates for a positive change in our attitudes about mental health. We hope this collaborative art making process will allow the artist partners to share their struggles, insights and coping mechanisms to gain a greater sense of self-esteem and self-acceptance, while allowing viewers to connect with and better understand the emotional struggles in their own lives. It will demonstrate the positive connection between  the creativity and expression that can be fostered through any art form and the need to care for our mental well-being. The artist partners will receive the satisfaction of seeing their work in a professional exhibition space and feel the sense of empowerment that can be gained by sharing their valuable lived experience.


Opening Night Reception: April 5th, 2024 | Friday 6:00 – 8:00pm

Exhibition Dates: April 5th – April 27th | Gallery Hours Thurs, Fri, Sat, 11-3 or by Appt

Lecture Program: April 18th | 6:00 – 7:00pm

Tickets Members $5 Non-Members $10 must reserve online, Hybrid In-person/Zoom