‘Art and Anxiety’ highlights mental health

Gannon alumnus used art to cope

Yvann Etievant, Staff Writer


Saturday, the Schuster Gallery participated in Gallery Night and welcomed William Doan, 63, for an exhibition entitled: “Art and Anxiety.” 

Out of over a thousand pieces of artwork, twenty pieces of Doan’s collection were displayed at the gallery, along with a projection of his work on screen.

For Doan, getting to display his art where he met his soulmate a couple decades ago was meaningful. 

“Exposing my art at Gannon feels like some sort of closure,” Doan said. “In a way, it is a beautiful way to break the shell about struggles I already had when I was a student, but never addressed, leaving people wondering what was up with me.” 

Doan has been dealing with mental health issues for most of his life but has learned to accept it through using art as therapy. 

While pointing to a series of watercolor sketches called “Morning Meditations,” Doan said that he commits to drawing every morning for at least twenty minutes.  

The intention behind the artist’s exhibit about anxiety is to guide the audience through a journey of acceptance of their personal struggles and contemplate ways to cope with them.


“Art is, in my opinion, one of the best ways to bring any topic on the table, especially mental health,” Doan said. “As the object displayed is not personal to whoever sees it, it becomes easier to relate to it. No one feels threatened. This is the role of an artist, and I think you cannot be a good artist without empathy.”  

Doan said readdressing his mental health issues through art feels like a duty to his loved ones — a duty to live his truth and embrace it. It is also a challenge, but his wish is to help his audience.  

Doan said he wants to help people, especially men, as the discourse regarding men’s mental health is constantly neglected. He also wants to open eyes so that people see that they are not alone.  

He describes himself as one man who chose to pave the way for people to take their mental health seriously, or to simply just grab a pen and let go of their emotions. 


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