507’s Mikey G exhibits his art at the ROM
December 13, 2010
The Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto featured a photo by Mike Gericke, a Centre 507 participant, as part of an exhibit organized by Touched by Fire, which calls itself “the art show you have to be crazy to enter.”
“I was so happy to be selected for the show. My picture Ottawa River Ice sold the same day the exhibition opened,” Gericke said.
Touched by Fire is a program to stimulate and celebrate work created by artists with mood disorders. It’s sponsored by the Mood Disorders Association of Ontario. Famous names from art history like Michelangelo, van Gogh and Georgia O’Keefe didn’t let mood disorders get in the way of their art, and neither is Gericke.
Known as Mikey G to his friends at Centre 507, he suffers from an anxiety disorder and epilepsy. He couldn’t make the trip to be at the ROM unveiling. So, Centre 507 held a vernissage for him on November 25.
“I ran a slideshow at Centre 507. After the show I was floating on air,” Gericke said. The vernissage wasn’t the only highlight for Gericke. That same day he appeared on CBC Radio’s All in Day to talk about his work and the ROM show. (Listen to the interview)
There are also plans for an Ottawa Citizen article over the holidays and TVO has been in touch about Gericke’s Graffiti Knitters project.
Graffiti knitting, also known as yarn bombing, is an urban phenomenon where anonymous knitters cover things like bike racks with brightly coloured knitting. (See Gericke’s graffiti knitters photos and more of his work)
Gericke has also contributed to Centre 507 in a variety of ways, including providing the photographs for the Centre’s website. It’s just one way that Gericke is giving back to a place that he says has given him so much support since he first discovered it after visiting the food bank in the basement of Centretown United Church. “I never thought I could promote my art through Centre 507 until I met Margaret,” he said.
Margaret Johnson is the In-Centre Life Management Skills Worker. Learning life skills helps participants contribute to their community. It also builds self-esteem and a desire to reach for a brighter future.
Gericke has big plans for his future, and he isn’t taking his success for granted. “I want to do more architecture and landscape photos, and one of these days I’d like to take a photo course.”
Edited on June 7, 2011
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