When members of the Active Minds club worked to bring photographer Barb Kellogg’s exhibit on campus, it was like it was meant to be: the artist was an alumni of SCTCC and putting her degree to work.
Kellogg enrolled in the Advertising program (before it was changed to Marketing and Design) as a non-traditional student; she was bored in her current job and looking for a change. Web design was the path she was drawn to, and after getting her degree, she got a job in her field and stayed there for two-three years. Even though she left the web design position, it didn’t stop her from using her degree.
“There’s foundations of design in all art, whether it’s advertising in a magazine, a painter, a photographer, what have you,” Kellogg explains.
Now she’s got an art exhibit that’s circulating the region, including at SCTCC the first week of December 2019. “If You Only Knew: Revealing the Humanity of Mental Illness” is a trifecta of art, from portraiture to interviews to a photographic interpretation of mental health. This method of storytelling encapsulates people’s stories for different ways of learning.
“Having the portrait, the interview, and the visual interpretation photograph – people learn in different ways. Some are more visual; some want more details and will read the interview,” Kellogg said.
At first, Kellogg didn’t think people would want to share their stories about their personal mental health journeys. She thought people would be especially hesitant to have their portraits captured, which would reveal the humanity behind mental illness.
As it turns out, she found more people than she expected: her exhibit has 15 portraits and stories, and she ended up producing 32 different people’s experiences. It was so successful she decided to publish a book.
One of the students in Active Minds saw her work and worked with advisor Katey Leverson to bring Kellogg to campus. Her exhibit was located in the Commons for a week, where students, classes, faculty, staff, and even visitors for the St. Cloud Chamber After Hours event were able to view the artwork.
Kellogg hopes her exhibit will shine a light on mental illness in ways that more people can grasp.
“People sometimes think mental illness is someone else. Couldn’t be me, not my family. Well, it doesn’t discriminate,” she explained. “I think artwork reaches people on a different level than just reading a definition.”
She also links her artwork to education – not just educating people about mental illness, but also her education at SCTCC: “Being a presence on campus is a positive thing. Education is a wonderful thing. You never know what path of education is going to come full circle.”
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