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MWM Press Release. February 21, 2020

Big success and big thankyous! Imagined by Amanda Whitworth, the Depressed Cake Shop was one of the events during the Museum’s  recent Nourish: Arts Feed Mind, Body, Spirit exhibition and the paired exhibition in Silver Center, Expressive Harmonies: Art and Society, both of which highlighted the connection between arts and health. Using the world-wide Depressed Cake Shop model ( Amanda gathered together professional and home bakers from all over New Hampshire, who donated their gray-themed cupcakes, cakes, and cookies for the event.

The message for the event: One in four people will suffer from, or be touched by, a mental health issue at some point in their lives. The Depressed Cake Shop is a unique (and delicious) platform designed to bring awareness to mental health.

The MWM version of Depressed Cake Shop featured donated confections from Wicked Good Bakery (Plymouth), Crust and Crumb Bakery (Concord), Goody Good Donuts (Laconia), Blue Loon Bakery (New London), Cup and Crumb Bakery (Moultonborough), Mountain Mousse Bakery (Campton), The Joye-ful Cookiery, LLC (Holderness), Chartwells Dining Services, and many talented home bakers! The treats were gorgeous, delicious, and they had such fun titles like: “Doomsicles,” Double Crumbies”, “Sad Spheres”, “Frownies”, “Anxiety Annies” , “Crap Bags”, “Pills of Dispair”, “Heart of Turmoil Cupcakes” “Mental Illness Mash Up Cup Cakes” “Crying Cakes”.

88 people attended and enjoyed the event on February 13, with a mix of PSU students, Faculty, Staff, and Community members. Each treat cost $1 and the proceeds ($320) went to the PSU Student Support Foundation. PSU Student Support Foundation students, as well as MWM student and professional staff, helped to set up, run, and clean up the event. What was wonderful to see, was students, some of whom had not yet been to the Museum, coming to event in groups, enjoying the food, AND relaxing together- looking at art and talking to each other. This is the ultimate goal for a space like MWM- to attract students and community members into the space, where they respond and connect to each other.

This event, part of the larger Nourish and Expressive Harmonies exhibitions project, is a great example of the Museum’s ability to support and collaborate with PSU faculty, student groups, and community businesses and regional organizations.

Amanda Whitworth, Director of Dance at Plymouth State University, was interested in exploring experiences we could provide for students and community that highlight mental health and engage a diverse group of people in conversations about opportunities and ideas that could help the region.

PSU Interdisciplinary senior, Sarah Connor, curated the Expressive Harmonies exhibit, focusing on artwork expressing emotions, trauma, and challenging experiences made by PSU students and area high school students. Sarah was able to connect this curating work to her final project for her degree.

Besides the Depressed Cake Shop, the project included a dynamic Arts and Health forum discussion, which included Kate Griffin, Executive Director of the Arts Alliance of Northern New Hampshire as facilitator, a Yoga and Art evening led by PSU’s Darlene Nadeau, an interactive Expressive Harmonies event in Silver Center, attended by 160 people, featuring  the well-known NH dancer/choreographer, Sarah Duclos, pianist Jonny Peiffer, and group art making, as well as popular interactive elements of the exhibitions and resources provided from PSU and local mental health assistance centers.

The Museum of the White Mountains applied for and was awarded a “Community Arts Project” grant from the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts, which funded the speakers and exhibition materials for this project.