‘My Anxiety Project’ comes to Schuster Gallery

Ali Smith, Arts & Leisure Editor

September and the fall semester are in full swing, and open and honest conversations about mental health and suicide have ensued in response to National Suicide Awareness Month.  

In the spirit of de-stigmatization, The Schuster Gallery, located on the first floor of the Center of Communication and the Arts, has unveiled “My Anxiety Project” by artist William Doan.  

Doan is a Gannon alumnus, class of 1982, who now serves as a professor of theatre in the College of Arts and Architecture and the director of the Arts and Design Research Incubator at Pennsylvania State University.  

The exhibit, which made its debut at the Schuster Gallery, has been on display since Aug. 25 and will run until Oct. 25.  

When living with a mental illness, it is not uncommon for people to find a creative outlet or hobby that helps them cope in healthy ways with their struggles.  

“My Anxiety Project,” like most of Doan’s artistic works, is a testimony of his personal journey with mental illness. This project in particular explores the act of drawing as a tool for managing mental illness.  

Although the sketches and paintings done by Doan stand whole on their own, these framed works at the gallery are actually a part of a larger narrative of animated works by Doan on his struggle with anxiety.  

“My Anxiety Project” in its full form consists of more than 500 drawings, a series of animated short films and two original performance pieces.  

Doan has even been recognized for these works — his short animated collaboration film “Inhale, Exhale, Draw” was selected as a prize finalist in the World Health Organization’s Health for All Film Festival in 2021.  

His most recent work, “Sticks and Stones,” has also been selected for eleven art festivals.  

Each of these works, including “My Anxiety Project” in its animated form, is located on Doan’s professional website, www.inhaleexhaledraw.com. 

The Erie Art Museum is hosting a gallery night at the Schuster Gallery Saturday, Sept. 17 from 5 PM to 8 PM, where Doan will interact with his works and be available for open conversations about art, mental health and everything in between.  

The event will consist of a catered reception and display of his animated work. 

The Schuster Gallery is located at 700 Peach Street and is open Tuesday through Friday from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. 

To make an appointment, contact Gallery Director Lori Steadman via email at [email protected]. 

“We see William Doan’s work and willingness to share as a real honor,” Steadman said. “I think this is a really meaningful experience, especially for our students who are struggling with anxiety.” 


[email protected]