(February 19, 2020) Today, the Saks Fifth Avenue Foundation made its debut in the famed Saks windows on Fifth Avenue in New York City with a special mural dedicated to mental health awareness, featuring the artwork of Fountain House member artist Osvaldo Cruz.
To bring the windows to life, Saks partnered with Fountain House and Crisis Text Line. “We Are Not Alone” speaks to the most challenging barriers of living with mental health issues – social isolation, shame and stigma – and was the name of the original founding group of Fountain House.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. suffer from mental illness each year. Crisis Text Line provides free, 24/7, confidential support for those in crisis, all via text. The windows remind viewers that if you, or someone you know needs help, Crisis Text Line is available by texting “GO” to 741-741.
"The Saks Fifth Avenue Foundation is committed to increasing awareness of mental health in every community and improving access to valuable tools and resources. Mental health is one of the most important issues of our lifetime, yet many people are afraid to speak up or seek help. Through our Fifth Avenue window displays, we see a tremendous opportunity to ignite the conversation around this crucial issue and further our foundation’s mission to drive progress and change.” Marc Metrick, President, Saks Fifth Avenue
“Fountain House is proud to partner with the Saks Fifth Avenue Foundation on this incredible opportunity. Providing such a vibrant public platform for an artist living with mental illness in the creation of these displays shows the depth of commitment Saks has to changing the conversation around mental health. As nearly one in five U.S. adults experience mental illness, and as rates of addiction and suicide skyrocket, we need more leaders like Saks – across multiple industries – to partner with us to bring mental health challenges out of the shadows once and for all.” Ashwin Vasan, M.D., Ph.D., President and CEO, Fountain House
The Saks Fifth Avenue Foundation windows will be on display until March 2, 2020 at 611 5th Ave, New York, NY.
About Fountain House
Since 1948, Fountain House has supported people living with mental illness to overcome social isolation and build the community and the resilience needed to thrive in society. Fountain House has become the most widely replicated community-based model for people living with mental illness. Today, more than 300 such programs serve over 100,000 people in the US and in more than 30 countries. www.fountainhouse.org
About Fountain House Gallery
Fountain House Gallery and Studio provides an environment where artists living with mental illness can express their creative visions and exhibit their work. Founded by Fountain House in 2000, the storefront Gallery in Manhattan sells original artworks and collaborates with a wide network of artists, curators and cultural institutions. The Studio, located in Long Island City, is a collaborative workspace that furthers the professional practice of our artists. Embracing artists who are emerging or established, trained or self-taught, Fountain House Gallery cultivates artistic growth, makes a vital contribution to the New York arts community, and challenges the stigma surrounding mental illness. www.fountainhousegallery.org
About the Artist - Osvaldo Cruz
Osvaldo, known as “Cruz,” worked in pen and ink, acrylic, and felt-tip marker before discovering the effects he could achieve with spray paint, the medium that now defines his style. Known for “graffiti” pieces featuring large lettering in the bright and gritty colors of New York City streets, he also creates cloudlike, dreamy works in pastel hues. He uses a variety of nozzles attached to the paint can to achieve effects from bold to refined, on surfaces including masonite and canvas board. Cruz was commissioned by New World Stages in Manhattan to paint a “graffiti wall” to enhance the New York atmosphere outside the theatre where the revival of the musical Rent played. Fountain House Gallery showcased his work in the exhibitions Osvaldo Cruz/Keith Pavia: New Works and We Are Not Alone. Osvaldo Cruz’s body of work can be viewed at: www.fountainhousegallery.org/cruz
About the Saks Fifth Avenue Foundation
Three years since the announcement of the HBC Foundation in the United States, Saks Fifth Avenue continues their commitment to mental health under the new name – the Saks Fifth Avenue Foundation – with the mission to:
- Increase awareness and education: Foster conversations and support educational programs that break down the stigma of mental health issues
- Improve access to care: Increase the availability of resources to address mental health issues when and where they are needed most
- Build protective factors: Strengthening the attitudes, behaviors and relationships that build the foundation for mental health
- Reach target communities: Focus on support for those communities that are uniquely affected by mental health issues
Since the Foundation’s founding in 2017, originally as the HBC Foundation in the United States, Hudson’s Bay Company has:
- Invested more than $3 million in US mental health initiatives
- Reached nearly 2 million individuals with messages that combat the shame and stigma surrounding mental health struggles
- Supported programing in nearly 50 high schools and colleges to create the policies, practices, and conversations to promote positive mental health outcomes
- Funded 2 of the leading research and treatment institutions that are innovating tomorrow's mental health breakthroughs
- Created an internal Mental Health Ambassador program and hosted mental health awareness events for employees.
The Foundation accomplishes its mission by investing in best in class partners such as Glenn Close’s Bring Change to Mind, The Jed Foundation, New York-Presbyterian Youth Anxiety Center and Columbia University Department of Psychiatry.