The Eugene H. & Dorothy Kleinpell Gallery at the River Falls Public Library shared Northwest Passage’s message of hope and healing in an exhibit displayed from September 30 – November 1, 2019. Gallery visitors were able to experience the healing power of nature as the residents of Northwest Passage debuted their most recent terrestrial and underwater photographs. In addition to stunning environmental photographs, the exhibit featured unique portraits of the artists, superimposed with scenes from nature that hold special meaning for them. Through Northwest Passage’s Artist-in-Residence program, professional artists were able to help youth who are struggling with mental health issues find beauty in the world that surrounds them, and in themselves.
A closing reception was held on Wednesday, October 30 and was attended by many members of the public as well as several Northwest Passage residents who had photographs on display. Ian Karl, Northwest Passage Experiential Programming Coordinator, and Dr. Toben LaFrancois, Northland College, were on hand to share their experiences with the kids on their recent underwater photography trip to Dry Tortugas National Park in Florida. They talked about the impact the immersive therapy experience had on the kids they traveled with, and also touched on the importance of conserving natural envirornments and their importance in our overall ecosystem.
Several of the young photographers shared their experiences with nature and underwater photography during their time at Northwest Passage. The kids were united in their belief that their time spent under the surface and behind the camera was life-changing. Many commented on the calming effect they felt while immursed in a natural setting and the sense of accomplishment they achived through creating the stunning photos on display. One resident stated “It’s so cool to see a photo by a professional photographer up on the wall in a gallery and then realize, HEY… I’m that photographer!”. Members of the public were impressed with the confidence, candor, and composure the young photographers displayed in front of the audience, further evidence that these young people have truly grown from their experiences at Northwest Passage.
The exhibit was a tremendous success, with more than 760 people visiting the gallery during the show. Cole Zrostlik, River Falls Public Library Event and Gallery Coordinator, said “People loved the show, and several visitors felt inspired enough to get in touch with NWP in person! Our library director was incredibly moved by the students who talked at the closing reception, and I was impressed with everything, as always!”
Northwest Passage is thankful for the opportunity to exhibit our work in such a beautfiful gallery space, and look forward to more shows in the future!
HELP US CREATE LIFE-CHANGING EXPERIENCES FOR YOUNG PEOPLE IN RESIDENTIAL MENTAL HEALTH TREATMENT.