Although Kellie Gillespie's exhibition 'Ca•thar•sis' was taken down last Monday after 82 days on display at Prairie Fusion Arts & Entertainment, it will undoubtedly impact the community for many more moons.
The display, brought from Gillespie's home in Los Angeles, California, concentrated on the harsh reality behind mental health and sharing uncomfortable stories.
"This has been the experience of a lifetime. The connections have been absolutely incredible," Gillespie told PortageOnline after the final showing on September 25. "I'm still emotionally processing it all. It's been so overwhelming in the most beautiful way. Everyone has been absolutely amazing, sweet, kind, compassionate, and so vulnerable in a way that's going to stick with me for a very long time."
Lee Beaton, manager of gallery operations at Prairie Fusion Arts & Entertainment, says that the experience of meeting Gillespie opened her eyes.
"Being able to share her story and her art has just been incredible, and I know it's touched a lot of people. We just want to continue to remove the stigma out there and just to embrace and be very open for everybody."
While Gillespie's art was constructed 3,073 km away from the City of Possibilities, the basis of her message with Ca•thar•sis was one everyone could relate to.
"It was so lovely to see people from a completely different background be able to connect with the same kind of stories and kind of experiences that myself and people I know have gone through."
Bringing down Gillespie's work to Portage was a challenge, according to Beaton. However, she says it was well worth it.
"To hear people just be so filled with emotion and empowerment from seeing this exhibit is just wonderful," Beaton continues. "I'm thrilled to have been able to meet Kellie to bring her here and to share her art with Portage la Prairie and the surrounding area."
The American Artist says she was incredibly thankful for the opportunity to display a room full of her work for the first time in her career.
"It's about a decade's worth of work. Some of it has never even been shown publicly," smiled Gillespie.
Once everyone had left the final showing, the display was taken down, packed up and put back into Gillespie's truck as she headed down the highway and left Portage la Prairie with memories she says will last a lifetime.
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