Mattress Factory highlights art "for teens, by teens" with Mirrors of the Mind | Visual Art | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Mattress Factory highlights art "for teens, by teens" with Mirrors of the Mind

click to enlarge Artwork for Mirrors of the Mind at the Mattress Factory - PHOTO: COURTESY OF THE MATTRESS FACTORY
Photo: Courtesy of the Mattress Factory
Artwork for Mirrors of the Mind at the Mattress Factory
Teens are facing a widespread mental health crisis. This is according to a recent New York Times article examining how pediatricians in the United States have treated an increasing number of young patients suffering from various mental health disorders. The story points out that anxiety, depression, suicide, and self-harm among teens have "soared," enough so that in December 2021, the U.S. Surgeon General released an advisory stressing the seriousness of the issue.

While therapy, medication, and community support are some ways of addressing teen mental health, art can also provide an outlet through which they can process the stresses of growing up during a global pandemic, political unrest, and impending threat of climate change.

The Mattress Factory has found a way to reach young people through its Teen Art Cooperative, described as an annual program for "self-motivated students who are interested in learning how to sustain a life of creative practice." On Fri., May 13, the museum will debut the cooperative's latest project, Mirrors of the Mind, a collection of artworks made by Pittsburgh-area teens "focusing on themes of introspection and self-reflection."


"I think the theme came to us in the creation process because of everything that has happened in the past years," says Teen Art Cooperative member Caroline Berger in a press release. "We’ve gone in and out of school due to COVID, and overall grown into different people as teens. We wanted to reflect and think about how events in life have made us who we are."
click to enlarge Mattress Factory's Teen Art Cooperative on a field trip to SPACE Gallery in Downtown Pittsburgh - PHOTO: COURTESY OF THE MATTRESS FACTORY
Photo: Courtesy of the Mattress Factory
Mattress Factory's Teen Art Cooperative on a field trip to SPACE Gallery in Downtown Pittsburgh
Promoted in a flyer as an art show "for teens, by teens," Mirrors of the Mind — on view in the Mattress Factory's Main Building lobby form Fri., May 13-Thu., May 19 — gave the 15 members the opportunity to tackle every role involved with putting on an art show, acting as curators, administrators, project managers, and educators, as well as handling marketing. In April, they called on Pittsburgh-area artists in grades 8-12 to submit works, and after receiving over 50 submissions, worked together to decide which pieces would go in the show, how they would be displayed, and how the information would be dispersed.

Some of the work on view will also be available for purchase.

'We always do events throughout the year, and this year we really wanted to showcase young artists in Pittsburgh — especially since art opportunities for youth across the city have been cut in the past few years," says Teen Art Cooperative member Kate Myers.

The opening for Mirrors of the Mind will take place from 6-8 p.m. on Fri., May 13. The event is free and open to the public, but registration is required.

Mirrors of the Mind. Fri., May 13-Thu., May 19, Mattress Factory. 500 Sampsonia Way, North Side. Free. mattress.org

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