Waiting For Beds is a multimedia collaborative art project between artists Moira Villiard and Carla Hamilton as they delve into the tumultuous and vicious cycles of mental health crisis, public health and the healthcare and social systems that are at odds in American society. It features mixed media work by the artists, data and survey responses, as well as an embedded community component.
This exhibit brings to the surface the inner workings of the systems one falls into when facing a mental health crisis. They draw from regional research, personal experience and community input to compose a body of work that tactfully navigates these topics while powerfully delivering the impact and reality of it. The visual elements from the artists depict the anguish of the eponymous wait for beds from two different perspectives: One, as a person facing mental health crisis, in need for help and being made to wait by a failing healthcare infrastructure; two, as the caretaker of the one made to wait, trying to get someone to listen, trying to understand the regulations and inner workings of a system made to profit rather than help your loved one.
The artists carve out space for those in the community who have encountered the hard edges of these “cracks” where too many fall through by displaying stories, objects and pieces submitted to exhibit. The intricacies of these structures, as they become visible through the objects, stories and visual art, become impossible to deny - as does the violence inflicted on the community.
Accompanying each exhibition is community programming that invites locals with lived experience and expertise to share their connection to the topic. This exhibit seeks to challenge the normalcy of the phrase in social services and healthcare, and uplift the voices of those impacted by the "wait". It navigates themes and data connected to mental health, addiction, hospitalization, incarceration, homelessness, domestic violence, and other areas of crisis in which "waiting for a bed" is common.
Description by Tania Murillo-Duran and Moira Villiard