The Burlington Mall is currently exhibiting I Am More, a public art and writing project on mental health by portrait artist Amy Kerr.
“It’s about anything in your life that overshadows who you really are,” said Kerr.
Kerr has been working on the project since 2017 as a way to deal with her own depression. The exhibit is meant to remind us that we are more than our mental illness, health diagnosis, physical disability or life situation. Kerr uses painting and drawing to create the individual portraits of people of all different ages and backgrounds. Kerr’s efforts have inspired a partnership with National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) which has nationwide chapters for mental health resources.
Kerr also does interviews with the subjects and there are essays written by them that are also part of the exhibit so you can read about the many mental health issues that are hard to talk about in public.
Burlington Mall Marketing Director Sheila Hennessy explained the exhibit started at the Northshore Mall and South Shore Plaza and was such a success they brought it to Burlington.
“The mall always looks for different ways to connect with the community,” said Hennessy. “We partner with groups all the time for that type of awareness for our shoppers and in being a good community member.”
Hennessy shared that an inspiration for displaying Kerr’s work is one of the exhibit’s subjects; Erin Davis. Davis is a 20 year employee of the Burlington Mall’s parent company Simon Property Group and is coping with alopecia.
Kerr described the project’s humble start.
“We weren’t going to galleries and the traditional art spaces. I wanted these portraits in the places where they would impact the most people possible. I wanted people to bump into this in their daily lives. When I approached North Shore Mall it was with the idea of the most eyeballs possible getting these messages,” said Kerr. “I feel incredibly lucky to have this opportunity and be able to share.”
I Am More has been a successful experiment for Simon Property Group with positive feedback from shoppers, employees, health professionals and educators. The exhibit also shares mental health resources through regional non-profits for free support groups and hotlines. I Am More will be on display at the Burlington Mall, Lower Level Apple Court until Sunday, May 8th.