Story originally published on 04/03/2017 on nwindianalife.com.

20 Lake Central High School Advanced Art students entered in an art contest entitled “Your Mental Health Matters.” The top three prizes went to LCHS students: Cordelia Weatherby (9), Marija Ivic (12) and Lauren Gronek (12). The participants were to base their art work off a Ted Talk video entitled “To This Day,” by Shane Koyczan.

“The Mental Health Association was doing a contest and it was about Mental Health. They invited us to watch this Ted Talk and it was about a guy who was bullied [and] how you have to have the mindset to get out of it. It had a hopeful message to it,” Gronek said.

Gronek submitted a photograph that included three of her friends. She was inspired by a quote in the Ted Talk video and that bloomed her idea for her project.

“I took three of my friends and painted on them with face paint. I painted flowers on their faces and shoulders. I [chose] the quote “Beauty blooms within” [and] one of those words [were painted] on each of their faces. I had to think of [this] for a while. There was a little quote in the Ted Talk talking about a mom. She was bullied when she was younger because she had a birthmark on her face, but her son saw what was inside of her. If you want to fight depression from bullying, you need to know who you are within and that’s what truly important. I wanted to show that through the flowers. [They] were supposed to symbolize what’s within like the good parts that are flowing out of you,” Gronek said.

Ivic used her own personal feelings for her project, which made it more relevant to her life.

“[For my piece,] I did a girl with a tear. It represents how she feels. I was thinking about me and when I moved here. The words are sad and depressed and that’s how I felt when I moved here. I searched something online and then I saw a similar drawing and I just changed it. It’s not about the money that I won but it’s about [how] I won second place in Indiana and it just means so much to me,” Ivic said.

Trying to find a way to put her feelings in words, Weatherby submitted a unique piece that earned her first place. This was a piece that she will always cherish.

“My piece described anxiety and depression. The piece itself was [about] a person. It was a women, and then it was a man, and there’s a water scheme going on. It’s kind of hard to explain unless you look at it. Ging through those issues myself, [this was] the best way I could describe it to anyone who hadn’t gone through [it]. It was through the representation of [like] drowning and being chained down in certain situations. It definitely took me a lot of time and I am very proud of it. It might be the work that I am most proud of,” Weatherby said.

These students will have their work on display at the Indianapolis State House during the month of May. All 20 pieces will be exhibited at Mental Health America of Indiana and the Systems of Care Conference in Indianapolis during the month of June.

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