Conversation with Lauren, the People's Choice Award Winner for the Texas Mental Health Creative Arts Contest
By: Kendall Jones
Art has a remarkable ability to capture emotions, convey messages, and spark conversations that transcend language barriers. In the Texas Mental Health Arts Contest of 2023, one exceptional young artist stood out from the rest, winning the coveted People’s Choice Award. Lauren’s artwork, titled “You Carried Me Through,” not only resonated with the hearts of Texans but also beautifully depicted the significance of mental health. In this interview, we dive into the inspiration behind Lauren’s winning piece, her thoughts on mental health, and the impact of art as a tool for advocacy.
Kendall: Today we have the honor of speaking with an exceptional young artist who recently won the People’s Choice Award in the Texas Mental Health Arts Contest of 2023. Their outstanding artwork not only captivated the hearts of the people of Texas but also beautifully conveyed the importance of mental health. Joining us today is Lauren, whose talent and creativity have garnered well-deserved recognition. I just want to say congratulations again! We had close to 1,000 people vote, which is so exciting, and you won the most votes! How does it feel to win the People’s Choice Award?
Lauren: I’m actually still in shock because all of the artwork that was submitted was beautiful and I’m very honored, to be chosen for this year’s People’s Choice Award.
Kendall: In your artwork “You Carried Me Through”, one of the last sentences you wrote in your description said, “I hope that people who view this artwork know that all of the things in the balloons are what helps carry you through and you hope that it can help other people too.” What inspired you to create this piece of art?
Lauren: Everyone has something going on in their personal lives and sometimes it’s not wonderful things and sometimes it is happy things. But, you know faith, family, love, hope, future, joy, peace – these things will surely carry you through all the ups and downs of your life if you let them.
Kendall: I love that! I love “if you let them.” You have to let in the positivity. In the 2023 Texas Mental Health Arts Contest the question was “What Does Mental Health Mean to You?” -how does your artwork describe your feelings towards mental health?
Lauren: I feel like mental health would be making sure you’re okay and taking care of yourself but also making sure you’re in a good state of mind.
Kendall: Did you face any challenges while creating your art? Did you have any roadblocks?
Lauren: I did actually. At first, I thought, well maybe like [draw] depression, but… there’s OCD and a lot of other mental health diagnoses. And then I thought, there’s family love and all that other stuff that will help you through it.
Kendall: What advice would you give other youth who want to use their art to advocate for mental health?
Lauren: I would say to make it positive if that’s what you would like. You could really do anything if you wanted to.
Kendall: What’s your favorite medium of choice to create your art?
Lauren: I like drawing because I feel like I have more control and I can do anything.
Lauren’s winning piece, “You Carried Me Through,” serves as a testament to the power of art in advocating for mental health. Through her artwork, she highlights the significance of positivity, support, and self-care in navigating life’s challenges. As young artists like Lauren continue to utilize their talents to raise awareness and promote mental well-being, art becomes an influential tool for inspiring conversations, fostering understanding, and encouraging resilience within our communities.
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