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Elephant In the Room


Homelessness and mental illness in Redding CA is an “elephant in the room.” Political “actions” by the City and Shasta County seem to “just kick the can down the road.” Public opinions continue to be polarized, with many having views villainizing/criminalizing such people living in our town as primarily a public safety/nuisance problem, while a growing number of citizens are imploring more compassionate and holistic solutions, dealing with root causes. Like the parable of the blind men touching different parts of the elephant, we often describe, and thus truly understand, only a part of the situation.

In an effort to continue to press for solutions to the complexities of homelessness and mental health, two local artists, Sandra Relyea and Diana Vader, have an exhibit entitled Elephants, now showing at the Shasta County Arts Council Gallery until October 28, 2016 at Old City Hall, 1313 Market Street, Redding CA.

Sandra Relyea, is a Physician Assistant with Shasta Community Health Center as well as an artist, working with screen door material as a medium on walls and floors. Diana Vader is a professional photographer.

“Homelessness is a manifestation of the shadow of humanity’s collective unconsciousness” says Sandra Relyea. “The human shadow is a concept developed by Carl Gustav Jung, MD. Every one of us has personal characteristics, traits and tendencies that we are uncomfortable with and have therefore related to our subconscious, where they can be denied and defended against. We tend to project these shadow characteristics onto others, seeing these traits in those around us and judging other as wrong, undesirable and different from ourselves. This can lead to dislike, condemnation, blame and even persecution and scapegoating of those we have projected our shadows onto.”

Click, Jake, Michael, Amad, James, John, Emma, Kathy, Marybeth, William and Duane are some of the real people depicted in the artwork – people with stories that help put a face on the homelessness and mentally ill.

Hours for the SCAC Gallery are: Tue.–Thu. 12:00 p.m.–5:00 p.m.; Fri. 12:00 p.m.–6:00 p.m.;  and Sat. 11:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m. (only on the 4th Saturday of the month if there is a gallery show on display.)

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