MANCHESTER, NH – Luke Boutin, a recent graduate of Manchester West High School, is bringing awareness to suicide prevention through his curated charity art show “Together We Prevail.” The exhibit will launch with an opening reception at Jupiter Hall from 6-10 p.m. on Thursday June 14 at 89 Hanover St., Manchester.
Boutin collaborated with several other high school students from both Manchester West and Manchester Central to put together the exhibit. Boutin gives credit to his art teacher, Richella Simard, who helped orchestrate some of the details with Jupiter Hall. Together We Prevail will be open for viewing through June 22, with varying activities and all proceeds to benefit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
I asked Boutin why suicide prevention and awareness matters to him and why he chose to connect the idea with art.
“In eighth grade, one of my close friends took his own life. Since that day I’ve been using this [art] as an outlet. I always had that creative side and urge to make something. I thought the best way to go about it was to make and edit videos. I ventured off into making T-shirts, and painting. When setting up the art show at school, I wondered, how can I find a way to integrate art, which is everything I love, and cause awareness for this?”
Suicide awareness/prevention has been a topic that has increasingly gained national attention, especially in relation to teenagers, with numbers skyrocketing in teen suicides. According to the CDC, the suicide rate in teenage girls (ages 15 to 19) doubled from 2007 to 2015. This makes the highest rate for teenage girls in nearly 40 years. Within the same time frame, suicide rates rose by 30 percent for boys in the same age bracket. Meanwhile, across the media there has been traction in spreading messages of support to those suffering from depression and mental health disorders. Rapper Logic released his single “1-800-273-8255” in 2017, having chosen the phone number for the suicide hotline as his title, and shows such as Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why have also further spread the message of teen suicide prevention and awareness.
“You tend to stay alone in the battle against depression. You should always talk to someone. Depression is something most of us have dealt with, like when going through hard times with someone. Find someone to talk with because it will always get better,” said Boutin.
Some of Boutin’s own art pieces will be on display at the exhibit in addition to some graphic designs and T-shirts that he created for the cause. Live music, film screenings, a raffle and guest speakers will be present starting on Friday June 15. On Tuesday, June 19, Makin’ It Happen will hold its EmpowerYOU Community Learning Series on “Addiction & Suicide Prevention” from 6 – 8 p.m.
Boutin hopes to make this an annual event and potentially run another solo art show in the future.
“If I could leave on one note, I would say this to anyone reading-be your own person. Stray away from the pack. Be a leader and not a follower – it’s the message of the show,” Boutin said.
If you are a high school student or organization that would like to get involved, please contact Richella Simard, Art teacher at West High School, at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 603-624-6384.
If you would like to help sponsor, you can also contact Katie Bérubé at email@example.com or call 603-289-4661.
ABOUT JUPITER HALL
Jupiter Hall is a community-oriented multi-purpose creative space located in Manchester, NH where communities experience arts, culture and innovation. Our mission is to showcase and present exciting opportunities for storytellers, creatives and professionals working with Digital Media and other innovative formats to share their stories, culture and vision.