Gallery Openings and Events

Universalist Church of Arlington Presents Leslie Holt Neuro Blooms

“Schizophrenia Stain (detail)” acrylic and embroidery on raw canvas 10×10″ (photo: Margaret Boozer)

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Opening Reception: Sunday, September 8 from 12:30pm to 2pm
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Panel Discussion: Art, Science, and Mental Health Advocacy, September 15, 1:00 – 3:00 PM

“Thread Lines” Tuesday evening hands on art activities and informal discussions, 6:30 – 8:30, September 10, 17, 24, October 1, 8

Neuro Blooms is an exhibit of mixed media work that exploits the aesthetic qualities of PET brain scans of people experiencing mental health conditions to address universal emotions cloaked in the language of clinical technology. The exhibit includes acrylic and embroidery pieces as well as large scale photography. In the embroidered paintings Holt combines tightly controlled embroidery stitching with loose washes of acrylic paint to contrast the clinical with the more nuanced, poetic realities of mental health. The large scale photography and paintings of extreme close ups of the backs of the embroidery re -present the paintings, revealing the “wrong side” and unruly truths that lay behind them.

Neuro Blooms is a project by Leslie Holt that includes mixed media art and community events intended to spark curiosity and conversations about the causes and stigmatizing myths of mental illness. Images are based on brain PET scans of people experiencing different mental health conditions. Positron Emission Tomography (PET) imagery reveals unique maps of brain behavior and function. The Neuro Blooms project makes mental health conditions visible and beautiful.

About the artist: Leslie Holt is from Bethesda, Maryland and in 2012 returned to the DC metro area after living in St. Louis for 20 years. She received a BFA in Painting at Washington University in St. Louis and an MFA in Painting at Washington State University in Pullman, WA. Leslie has taught studio art, art history and art appreciation on the college level since 2001. She has also worked as a social worker and advocate for people with developmental disabilities, mental illness, and people receiving welfare benefits. Currently she is Co-director of Red Dirt Studio, a warehouse studio for a group of independently practicing artists and creative professionals in Mt. Rainier, MD. In addition to her studio practice, Leslie teaches art to adults with disabilities in the DC area communities and online for Fontbonne University in St. Louis. She was awarded a Prince Georges Arts and Humanities Council Grant in 2018 and a Creativity Grant from the Maryland State Arts Council in 2019. Leslie exhibits her work nationally and is represented by the David Lusk Gallery in Memphis.

Universalist Church of Arlington is located at 4444 Arlington Blvd, Arlington, VA.