The Weight on My Shoulders Exhibition

Drinking Gourd Gallery presents THE WEIGHT ON MY SHOULDERS, June 1, 2024-June 30, 2024

View the Associated Programming Schedule

Drinking Gourd Gallery will present The Weight on My Shoulders exhibition in June 2024 in recognition of Men’s Mental Health Awareness month. Through a series of artwork, photography, and video, this group exhibition will focus on the importance of men's mental health in both the civilian and veteran communities. This artistic showcase will offer a nuanced exploration of the shared struggles, unique challenges, and resilience found within these diverse populations. From societal expectations and cultural stigmas to personal experiences and coping mechanisms, the exhibition aims to foster understanding, empathy, and dialogue surrounding the complexities of men's mental health. Join us in breaking down barriers, challenging preconceptions, and promoting pathways to accessible care and support. Together, we can build a more inclusive and compassionate society where every individual's mental health is valued.

We are proud to showcase more than 30 works by these talented North Carolina artists: 
Jennifer Asciutto, Anthony Barnes, Myles Brown, Foster Bullock, PhD., Hayley Burkhead, Roxanne Fajardo, Jonny Gilroy, Brenda Harris, Sgt. JAK, Darryl Matthews, Kirsten Moore, Marcia Neal, Melvin D. Nix, Barbara A. Outterson, Corliss R. Owen, Luanda Sharper, Maria Tavarez, Lillian L. Thompson and Carol Torian

The Weight on My Shoulders art exhibition will be presented at the Southeast Regional Library, located at 908 7th Avenue in Garner, North Carolina.

Drinking Gourd Gallery is proud to be presenting The Weight on My Shoulders  art exhibition in partnership with Camilla Y. Black, M.Ed., LCMHC, artist Maria Tavarez of Moonchild LLC, artist Barbara A. Outterson, and the Southeast Regional Library and the Wake County Public Libraries system.

Additional support provided by Kiki Piper, Aristotle Spirits, Alex Lawrence, The Jim Allen Group, J. Locke, and R.V. and Marlene Kuser.  

 

MEET THE ARTISTS AND PRESENTERS

We're proud to present more than 30 works by these incredible North Carolina artists: Jennifer Asciutto, Anthony Barnes, Myles Brown, Foster Bullock, PhD., Hayley Burkhead, Roxanne Fajardo, Jonny Gilroy, Brenda Harris, Sgt. JAK, Darryl Matthews, Kirsten Moore, Marcia Neal, Melvin D. Nix, Barbara A. Outterson, Corliss R. Owen, Luanda Sharper, Maria Tavarez, Lillian L. Thompson, and Carol Torian.

Coming Soon: Hear from the contemporary artists whose work is featured in the exhibition.

ASSOCIATED PROGRAMMING 

In conjunction with "The Weight on My Shoulders" exhibition, we are offering the following events that are designed to help reframe the conversation around men’s mental health in the civilian and veteran communities. Join us for a series of exciting programs to connect, learn and be inspired! All events are free and open to the public. 

"The Weight on My Shoulders" Opening Reception & Artist Talk, Thursday, June 6, 2024, 6:30-8:30 PM.

Join us for an exciting evening of spoken word poetry followed by an insightful Artist Talk. Featuring guest poet Eric Thompson, author of “To the Voices in My Head.” Location: Southeast Regional Library, 908 7th Ave, Garner, NC 27529

About Eric Thompson

Eric "L.B." Thompson (Lyrically Blessed) is a talented writer and lyricist from Wilson, NC. An alum of N.C.A&T and former member of the spoken word group Couture Word, Thompson has been writing for six years. He founded the spoken word group S.B.E (Separate But Equal) and has been a passionate slam poet for five years, drawing inspiration from Buddy Wakefield, Black Ice, Stefan Mekos, Bluz, and Dasan Ahanu.

Thompson's accolades and honors include winning or placing in over 20 poetry slam competitions across the Southeast, winning grand slam champion at Bull City Slam in Durham, NC, and securing a spot on the Bull City Slam team from 2012-14. He also won the Southern Fried Regional Poetry Slam and ranked highly at the National Poetry Slam in Oakland, California. Known as one of the hardest working poets in the South, Thompson coaches the UNC-G collegiate poetry team and hosts workshops for budding poets.

His gripping, edgy, and passionate poetry covers a broad range of subjects from humor and family to race, violence, self-esteem, and loss. In his downtime, Thompson organizes poetry slams and open mics, charming audiences as a witty host. He is currently working on his first CD and chapbook project, "Voices in My Head." 

To learn more about Eric Thompson’s work, please visit: https://www.lulu.com/shop/eric-thompson/to-the-voices-in-my-head/paperback/product-wn7mgr.html

Mankind Comedy Show, Friday, June 7, 2024,7:00-8:30 PM.

Enjoy an evening of non-stop laughter! We're bringing together hilarious comedians for a great cause. Entry is free, but we encourage you to make a donation to support nonprofits that are working to make a difference. Let's share some laughs and spread some love! Location: Aristotle Spirits, 105 Rand Mill Rd, Garner, NC. Food & drink available for purchase.

About Aristotle Spirits

Aristotle Spirits creates a drinking experience founded in precision and classical distilling processes. You deserve a craft beverage made with the highest quality North Carolina ingredients and the closest attention to detail. Whether you stick to whiskey or enjoy experimenting with mixers and seasonal infusions, every Aristotle recipe pushes the boundaries of distilling quality and creativity. Aristotle Spirits invites you to tour their facility, chat with their staff and enjoy unique cocktails with your friends.

Located in the heart of downtown Garner, North Carolina, the company’s spirits are distilled on-site with the finest, locally-sourced ingredients. After spending years as a chemist in the pharmaceutical industry, owner Jake Howland decided to step away from the corporate environment and open his own distillery to craft the spirits he enjoys. This turned into the realization of a dream to create a culture that focuses on the process and unique character of the spirits.

As far back as the fourth century B.C., the great philosopher Aristotle suggested the possibility of spirit distillation. It is an age-old operation that today combines complex mental calculations and formulas with new technologies. Using several principles of natural science and chemistry, Jake produces a portfolio of spirits, second to none, that are made the right way every time.

Visit Aristotle Spirits and experience Excellence Crafted. Excellence Served.

Learn more about Aristotle Spirits: https://aristotlespirits.com/

 

Couples Living with Mental Illness, Sunday, June 9, 2024, 1:15-1:45 PM.

R.V. and Marlene Kuser share the highs and lows of coping with schizophrenia and autism in a relationship. Location: Southeast Regional Library, 908 7th Ave, Garner, NC 27529

About R.V. and Marlene Kuser:

R.V. Kuser is a person who lives with autism and schizophrenia. He is on a lifelong quest for ways to overcome misperceptions about differently abled individuals. Kuser wants everyone to know that having a mental illness doesn't mean you can't pursue your dreams, enjoy meaningful relationships, or find happiness. Through public speaking and advocacy, R.V. and his wife, Marlene, work to provide greater insight into autism and schizophrenia. By sharing their journey, they hope to spread hope and inspire others to lead rich, fulfilling lives.

Kuser’s first book was “Challenged but not Defeated – Strategies for Coping with Autism and Schizophrenia.”  His second book “Weight A Minute! – Lessons a Family Learns Through the Gift of Autism” is a work of fiction.  “Weight A Minute” is based in Winston-Salem and follows the story of a middle child with autism who is the hero of the book!  Kuser’s latest work “My Schizophrenia Story – We All Help Each Other” is a book about self-care for everyone.

To learn more about the Kusers, please visit: www.kusertalk.com

Inner Battles, Sunday, June 9, 2024, 2:15– 3:15 PM.

Learn coping strategies to handle family and relationship challenges associated with returning to civilian life. The session will be led by Camilla Y. Black, M.Ed., LCMHC. Location: Southeast Regional Library, 908 7th Ave, Garner, NC 27529

About Camilla Y. Black, M.Ed., LCMHC

Camilla Y. Black, M.Ed., LCMHC has over 20 years of experience in counseling, education, and social services. She has worked with individuals and couples from diverse backgrounds, nationalities, and cultures. Camilla has a wide range of experience with infants through geriatrics, college students/student-athletes, veterans, active-duty military service members, military spouses, and their dependents. As a licensed mental health practitioner, Camilla works collaboratively with her clients supporting them in reaching their goals through evidence-based practices and therapies. She is passionate and committed to providing a caring, safe, and nonjudgemental space for helping individuals to become their best selves.

 

I’m Fine. But I’m Not Fine, Sunday, June 9, 2024, 3:30– 4:30 PM.

Learn effective techniques to manage stress and navigate relationship and life challenges. The session will be led by Camilla Y. Black, M.Ed., LCMHC. Location: Southeast Regional Library, 908 7th Ave, Garner, NC 27529

About Camilla Y. Black, M.Ed., LCMHC

Camilla Y. Black, M.Ed., LCMHC has over 20 years of experience in counseling, education, and social services. She has worked with individuals and couples from diverse backgrounds, nationalities, and cultures. Camilla has a wide range of experience with infants through geriatrics, college students/student-athletes, veterans, active-duty military service members, military spouses, and their dependents. As a licensed mental health practitioner, Camilla works collaboratively with her clients supporting them in reaching their goals through evidence-based practices and therapies. She is passionate and committed to providing a caring, safe, and nonjudgemental space for helping individuals to become their best selves.

 

A Conversation About Mental Health, Saturday, June 15, 2024, 11:00 a.m. - Noon.

Join us for a unique session led by international recording artist J. Locke, where we'll dive into the profound connection between music and mental health. This conversation isn't just about notes and lyrics—it's about how music can heal, inspire, and uplift us in our toughest moments. Location: Southeast Regional Library, 908 7th Ave, Garner, NC 27529

About J. Locke: 

J. Locke, a North Carolina native, is a multi-talented rapper-songwriter, producer, and businessman known for his visionary approach to music. Raised in a small town, he has woven a rich tapestry of life experiences into his artistry.

His album, "The Return of King Jaffi," documents his transformative journey from a lost soul to a beacon of faith, blending gospel and secular genres with transcendent quality. Through his music, J. Locke sparks conversations on mental health, offering healing and liberation from past traumas.

Passionate about mental health awareness, particularly among black men, J. Locke challenges stigmas and advocates for open dialogue and support.

Starting as a choir drummer at 18, J. Locke's musical evolution led him to Gospel hip hop, where he seamlessly blends faith-filled lyrics with hip hop beats. His music resonates with authenticity, offering listeners a heartfelt message of faith and inspiration.

To listen to J. Locke’s “The Return of King Jaffi” album, please visit: https://blinq.me/5EJdwnrWMyOvK7wB0rwP