Fine Line, Mental Health/Mental Illness was completed
in 2003/2004 and had its debut opening at the Witte Museum
in San Antonio, Texas.

Fine Line has traveled to over 30 cities, including the following:

San Antonio, Texas - The Witte Museum (click here to view pdf)
New Braunfels, Texas - New Braunfels Museum of Art & Music
University of South Florida, Louis de la Parte, Florida Mental Health Institute
Grand Rapids, Michigan - The Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts
San Antonio, Texas - Conference of Southwest Charitable Foundations, Inc
Naples, Florida - Collier County Public Library
Washington, DC - SAMSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration)
Abilene, Texas - The Grace Museum
Reno, Nevada - Nevada School of Medicine
Reno, Nevada - Northwest Reno Library
Houston, Texas - The Houston Center for Photography
Las Vegas, Nevada - Mojave Mental Health Services
Fort Worth, Texas - Science & History Museum
Georgetown, Texas - Southwestern University, Fine Arts Museum
Newark, Delaware - University of Delaware
Midland, Michigan
Honolulu, Hawaii - Honolulu Academy of the Arts
Wichita Falls, Texas - Museum of Art
Marquette, Michigan - Peter White Public Library
Plainview, Texas - MHMR - Wayland Baptist University
Lubbock, Texas -Louise Hopkins Underwood Center for the Arts
Austin, Texas - State Capital Building
Columbia, South Carolina - Center of Contemporary Art

Michael Nye acknowledges and thanks The Kronkosky Charitable Foundation for their generous support.



This exhibit is dedicated to Shatzie Crouch
and her son Kerry Crouch

1. Mental illness is not caused by a weakness of character.
2. Mental illness is treatable.

I don’t know where mental health ends and mental illness begins. This exhibit is about the Fine Line that moves through all of our lives as we weave our ways forward. It is about the recognition of our vulnerabilities and the fragility of control.

Mental illness is often about fear, fear of ourselves and fear of others. Each of the fifty-five individuals in this exhibit tells a story. What is forgotten is lost. These narratives are about remembering, about time and light, taking apart and putting back together, losing and finding, and holding on for balance.

These stories are not intended to summarize or explain anyone’s life. We all carry a thousand stories. There are many ways a voice can turn.

Mental illness is too wide, deep and complex to define. The U.S. standard reference for psychiatry includes over 300 different manifestations of mental illnesses. It is painful to be labeled and misunderstood.

Scientific explanations speak of neurotransmitters, serotonin, receptors, medications and about the mysterious genes we each inherit, carry as gifts or burdens, and pass on to the next generation. We are the vessels in an intricate network of conveyances.

Mental illness touches the deepest parts of who we are; our identity, self worth, the inability to communicate, confusion and loss of control. It can happen for no apparent reason and at any time. Every person has a chance of becoming mentally ill.

The response to mental illness is wanting and waiting. It is ultimately about redemption, sadness, humility and dignity.

There is an urgency for action. Today, as a result of mental illnesses, hundreds of thousands of our citizens including the homeless and incarcerated do not have financial support for care and treatment.

Anyone who has been to these deep places knows something important and valuable. I thank all the individuals in this exhibit for their courage and for being our teachers, for enlarging and illuminating our lives.

I ask each person coming into the gallery to listen carefully. Throw away your old definitions of mental illness and start over. Listen to each story as if it could be you or your child or your friend or some stranger you will meet tomorrow.

Michael Nye

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