An Oklahoma City artist hopes that when people see her mural outside Hope Community Services, a center offering a wide range of mental health and addiction services, they will take away a message of hope and perseverance.
Ashley Showalter, 28, is the artist behind “And Yet We Rise,” a bold and colorful depiction of the ups and downs of mental health recovery.
Showalter’s piece is the first in a series of salvage murals planned across the state as part of a partnership between the Oklahoma City Arts Council, the state Department of Mental Health Services and substance abuse centers and local community mental health centres.
“Recovery isn’t linear,” Showalter said, “and everyone goes through multiple seasons. My goal is for this mural to serve as a reminder that hope is always there, even when we think it’s not. not possible at the present time.
His mural, located at 6100 S Walker Ave. in Oklahoma City, features raindrops and flowers, a representation of how rainy weather can lead to growth and joy. Clouds represent cloudy thinking and imbalanced perception, Showalter said. The black and white stripes are meant to be a reminder to seek balance and compassion.
In the center of the mural is a sun, meant to symbolize people in recovery.
“I view the sun as the moment of healing where you recognize your worth, your value and your importance,” Showalter said Friday at the official unveiling of her mural.
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Showalter never wanted to be an artist, but she started drawing around seven years ago as part of her own recovery journey. She was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and admitted to a hospital when another patient asked Showalter to draw her a giraffe.
“I was like, I really don’t want to draw,” Showalter recalled. “She was like, ‘Anybody can draw, you can do that.'”
She started drawing shapes and soon created artwork for many other patients at the hospital, she said.
Now art is meditative for Showalter.
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Tony Stelter, director of recovery support services for the Department of Mental Health and Addiction, said he hopes Showalter’s mural will be a “beacon” to encourage others to seek help when they need it.
“What’s so great and exciting to me about this mural is what it represents, which is that recovery is possible,” Stelter said.
To learn more about Showalter’s art, visit his website: www.urfavtrash.com
To learn more about Hope Community Services, visit their website at hopecsi.org.
To reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline before this date, call 1-800-273-8255 or go to suicidepreventionlifeline.org.
The crisis text line is also available 24/7 by texting HOME to 741741.