Go Columbia for May 8: A window to hearts — and minds

05/08/2014 12:00 AM

05/07/2014 11:40 PM

On Thursday, May 8, artwork created around the theme “A Window to our Heart” will be sold at 52 Windows, an event that supports the Mental Illness Recovery Center, or MIRCI.

The event got its start three years ago, when MIRCI executive director Julie Ann Avin and her team, who had been given a truckload of old windows by a board member, asked local artists to use them as the basis for pieces of art.

This year, to give the artists a bit more creative freedom, the windows were symbolic: artists could use any medium, but were asked to interpret “A Window to our Heart.”

May Kirby is one of those artists. Introduced to MIRCI in 2012, when she participated as an artist, Kirby now works as the organization’s Homeless Outreach Coordinator, trying to connect homeless people with programs and services that will help them get off the streets.

“I spend a lot of time in parks, looking for those marginalized individuals who could really use our help,” she says. “Until you’ve spent time with the homeless, you just don’t realize how difficult it is to put a life back together once it’s been chipped away to nearly nothing,” Kirby said.

Kirby’s work for this year’s event is a mixed-media abstract that she describes as “lumpy, ambiguous and indescribable – a lot like the experience of homelessness.”

‘52 Windows’ will be held from 6-9 p.m. at 701 Whaley. Tickets are $75 for individuals and $125 for couples. For more information visit mirci.org

MIRCI provides community-based services to people recovering from severe mental illness or emotional disorders in the Midlands of South Carolina through counseling, housing and financial management initiatives.

Katie McElveen, Special to The State

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