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Waiting For Beds



Upcoming Exhibitions

  • On View: June - September, 2024

    • Unitarian Universalist Church, Duluth, MN

    • Reception: TBD

  • On View: Spring 2025

    • 210 Gallery and Art Center, Sandstone, MN

    • Reception: TBD

  • On View: TBD

    • TBD


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

“Waiting for Beds” Opens Conversations Around Mental Health Crisis Response

“Waiting for Beds” Opens Conversations Around Mental Health Crisis Response

April 6, 2024 Mar. 31 saw the closing of an exhibit which provoked the feelings of hopelessness and personal struggle in Holden Fine Art’s KRUK Gallery. The University of Wisconsin-Superior’s Human Behavior, Justice and Diversity Department hosted two local artists’ relationships with mental health and medical advocation with their traveling mixed media collaborative exhibit, “Waiting for Bed.” An exhibit which focused on mental health care accessibility, it also provided honest insight about the artists own personal struggles. “It just started with shared experiences,” said Local Duluth Artist Carla Hamilton. “We (Moria Villiard) were just talking about her as a care giver and me as a woman of color as we navigated through the health system, about trying to be your own advocate when you’re sick. Which is very difficult.” Against the dark grey walls of the gallery lies expressionistic, mixed, and intruding artworks compiled by Hamilton and her gallery partner and another Duluth-based Artist and UWS Alum Moria Villiard. Hamilton is known for her mixed-media pieces, often blending incorporating collage. Meanwhile, Villiard works more traditionally with painting, more familiar with murals, graphic design, indigenous illustrations, and surrealism. “This is the first body of work where I sort of leaned into the mixed media approach,” said Villiard. “We tried to make a wholistic vantage point for people to come in and enter the world of crisis in our society from multiple lens.” “Waiting for Beds” is a collective response about our region’s lack of crisis response in healthcare. Often people are left alone without any support until they’re amidst a crisis, something that the exhibit explains with visual data collected by UWS Social Work and Interdisciplinary Studies Professor Lynn Goerdt. Torn banners in the middle of the main room, dangled downwards with messages like, “homeless shelter,” “treatment,” “survival sex,” “basement,” etc., are representative about the unfavorable and sometimes self-destructing choices that people make in extreme crisis. Another piece of art on display, titled “Melrose,” presents numerous empty prescription and admission wrist bands from Hamilton. “I like taking a lot of things from my experiences and put them in,” said Hamilton. “I use my hospital papers, the art that I make while I was in the hospital, I collect napkins and buttons, all these memories and put them on paper.” Past the colorful and self-reflective artwork, lies a deeper narrative of a larger community’s struggling access to crisis response. A topic relevant to the Twin Ports region, which has been under resourced and notably tends to invest in response over prevention. “The art that’s in here is beautiful and it speaks really nicely to the subject that it’s about,” said Alayna Kilgore, a UWS social work student. “As someone who works in the mental health field, it’s really nice to see that expressed in a different way that is more than words on a page.” On Mar. 21, the UWS Human Behavior, Justice and Diversity Department held a community discussion about the mental health struggles in Douglas County. Villiard was a special guest speaker at the event alongside Randy Barker, UWS director of health, counseling & well-being, and Crissy Barnard, president of National Alliance on Mental Illness Lake Superior South Shore (NAMI LSSS). “The system is really broken and traumatizing,” said Barnard at the community discussion. “We need more resources that are trauma informed.” “Listening other people who work in this field always expands my knowledge and interpretation of this show,” Villiard said after the discussion. “That question of what would the world or just America looks like if people didn’t have to wait for a bed.” The exhibit also showcases submitted artwork from other local artists with a focus on mental health and the access to care. Artwork can still be submitted to the gallery and can be pulled out of the show at any time. “Waiting for Beds” explicitly shows mental health struggles that reside within the Twin Ports our greater region, but the exhibit implicitly asks what can we do to change? “We want to let people know that it’s really hard to be your own advocate and be patient when you are sick and, in a crisis,” said Hamilton. “Maybe this will remind people to help advocate for people and help them.” “Waiting for Beds” was open from Mar. 7-31. The exhibit is set open next at the Washburne Culture Center in Washburn, WI, Apr. 1-30. For more information, submit artwork, or to see where the gallery is currently at, visit:
Waiting for Beds - Duluth, MN Panel at PROVE Gallery.

Waiting for Beds - Duluth, MN Panel at PROVE Gallery.

Moira Villiard, Airlea Defoe, Sam Miletich, Jesse Switters, & Deb Holman Sound recorded by Blake Thomas of Duluth Story Project. Waiting for Beds is a traveling experimental duo-exhibit exploring the “wait” often associated with crisis care. It features a series of paintings, mixed media work and digital illustrations by Moira (Miri) Villiard and Carla Hamilton. The exhibit opened in February at the PRØVE Gallery, located at 21 N Lake Avenue. A panel discussion from regional community members Airlea Defoe, Jesse Switters, Sam Miletich, and Deb Holman took place on April 1, 2023. The panel was facilitated by artist Moira Villiard. Panelists shared their connection to the topic of “waiting for a bed” and engaged in a dialogue around crisis care in our region, exploring complex realities and offering insight into what it might take to support our community. Topics addressed include treatment for addiction, mental health care, homelessness, domestic violence, and other areas of crisis that rely on wait lists for care. The exhibit also features a small selection of artwork and objects submitted by local community members who have a connection to the topic of the show. Moira Villiard and Carla Hamilton have drawn upon regional research, personal experience, and community input to create a body of artwork that explores what happens to people in crisis during their "wait" for a bed. 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". The exhibit will navigate 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. This activity and operating support for Prøve Gallery is made possible in part by the voters of Minnesota through grants from the Arrowhead Regional Arts Council and the Minnesota States Arts Board, thanks to legislative appropriations from the arts and cultural heritage funds. Our work is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts through a grant from the Arrowhead Regional Arts Council. Additional support for this activity is provided by the Arts Midwest GIG Fund and the Lloyd K. Johnson Foundation.

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