An open call to New York City artists confronting mental health

Curated by Karen Gormandy & Issa Ibrahim


Outside Outsider (Art Exhibition and Film Screening) proposes to blur the lines of established and preconceived ideas of art created by the "mentally ill." Outside Outsider will feature work that moves the boundary lines and disposes of the term “naïve” or unschooled and explores the complexity and sophistication of many people who have disclosed their diagnosis but refuse to be defined by it.  We will include work by artists who are intentional, worldly, knowledgeable, aware and woke.

This is an open call to all artists confronting mental illness.  Work will be considered in all genres from artists who ruminate on the suffering, healing and the stigma associated with mental health.

Please include in the Artist Statement section a one paragraph description of you and your work and why you believe it qualifies for this show.

Background of Curators:

Karen Gormandy is the  Director for Fountain House Studio. She began as a volunteer with the gallery 10 years ago when her son, a Fountain House member, introduced her to the gallery.  Along with an intrepid group of determined artists she saw the growth of the studio program from two trays of markers, pens, pencils and a few tubes of acrylic paint to a full blown fully equipped art studio in Long Island City.  She is a former board member for NAMI New York City, NAMI New York state and NAMI Harlem and is also a literary agent at Harold Ober Associates who proudly represent the estate of Langston Hughes.  She attended the High School of Art & Design, has a bachelor's degree in film from Montana State University and received her master's degree in creative writing at Manhattanville College, all of these disciplines now serve to enrich the experience of offering guidance, support and education to the artists of Fountain House.  She currently facilitates Fountain House's virtual studio program which includes art history, technique and lively artists discussions.

Issa Ibrahim is a graduate of New York City’s High School of Art and Design, and studied at the School of Visual Arts and the Art Students League. He was institutionalized at Creedmoor Psychiatric Center’s Living Museum, where he reclaimed his life and found meaning as an artist, musician, writer, activist, and 25-year artist-in-residence. Issa is the author of The Hospital Always Wins: A Memoir, published in 2016 by Chicago Review Press. The book was met with laudatory reviews leading to interviews on NPR and other radio outlets, international press, and features including coverage in O, the Oprah Winfrey Magazine.He is an active member-artist of Fountain House Gallery.

(Covid-19 health conditions  permitting)

On View (Virtual and in person):

May 1 – May 30, 2021

Opening Reception: May 1, 2021 (Timed Tickets will be available 5-9pm

Tentative Venue (Covid Permitting):

The Factory, 30-30 47th Avenue,  Long Island City, NY
Media: All
Submission Fee: $20.00 (all LiC-A members receive a $5.00 discount)
Submission Deadline: March 31, 2021
Notice of Acceptance: April 10, 2021
Dates for Reading/Music Performance, Film Screening, Curator Talk, Panel Discussion: TBD

Application fee: $20 & $15 for LIC-A Members


Thank you to our venue partner, LIC Arts Open at The Factory in LIC


About Fountain House Gallery - Fountain House Gallery and Studio provides an environment in which artists living with mental illness can express their creative visions and exhibit their work. Founded by Fountain House in 2000 as a not-for-profit exhibition space for its member-artists living and working with mental illness, the Gallery sells original artworks and collaborates with a wide network of artists, curators and cultural institutions. Embracing artists who are emerging or established, trained or self-taught, Fountain House Gallery cultivates artistic growth, makes a vital contribution to the New York arts community, and challenges the stigma surrounding mental illness.


About Flushing Interfaith Council - The Flushing Interfaith Council works to build a community that fulfills and surpasses the dream of toleration voiced by the Flushing Remonstrance more than 350 years ago. Our mission is to discover how members of the wonderfully diverse faith and cultural traditions in Flushing can celebrate our differences as we acknowledge our commonalities as well as the worth and dignity of each and every one.

Participating Artists:


 Len Antinori
 Irene Arholekas
 Jerry Atkins
 Jessica Bartow
 Susan Baus
 Wilfredo Benitez
 Claire Breidenbach
 Evan Brown
 Nancy Bruno
 Alberto Bursztyn
 Richard Courage
 Robert Desbiens
 Rosanne Ebner
 Oliver Estrella
 Nandan He
 Rebecca Hodel
 Olivia Hunter
 Issa Ibrahim
 James Kane
 Shushanik Karapetyan
 Louise Kavadlo
 Conrad Levenson
 Jane Levy
 Dick Lubinsky 
 Steve Mantinaos
 Jon Clare Mazzeo
 Gina Minielli
 Megan Murphy
 Ivy Naté
 Christy O'Connor
 Angela Roger
 Gail Shamchenko
 Corran Shrimpton
 Nutthawut Siridejchai 
 Rachel Snyder Kleinman
 Susan Spangenberg
 A.J. Springer
 Tanya St
 Ashley Stoecklin 
 Daniel Tackney - DiGrazia
 Anthony Tarsitano
 Sharon Taylor
 Maura Terese
 Alyson Vega
 Ella Veres
 Fulvia Zambon

Inside/Outside at LIC-A/Plaxall Gallery

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LIC Artists, Inc. is a 501(c)3 non-profit arts advocacy organization founded by artists and incorporated in 1986 in Long Island City.
© 2019 Long Island City Artists.  All images are property of individual artists. Questions: info@licartists.org