COLUMBUS, Ohio — Nineteen artists from the Columbus College of Art and Design have their work on display at the  Beeler Gallery. 

What You Need To Know

  • Master of Fine Arts Thesis Exhibition can be viewed at the Beeler Gallery now through May 1

  • Keara Henry's work centers around mental health  

  • The first abstract piece she created as an eighth-grader and had on display was very similar to what is on display now

  • Henry intended to create a graphic novel as her final project, not a mixed media art piece 

Keara Henry said her time as an artist has come full circle and it's exciting. That's in part because a middle school teacher inspired her to pursue art at a time when no one else did.

While she's created many pieces since then, she said her work is never really finished. She often finds areas of her art where she feels she has to touch up. 

When looking at her work today, individuals will find her work filled with all sorts of colors and shapes. Boundary lines in her art are meant to be surpassed. For her, it's a way of expressing herself, especially her emotions.

“Art always made me . . . it could pull me out of some dark places if I was feeling low or if I was feeling really anxious,” she said.

Henry has struggled with anxiety issues since fifth grade.

The work she creates is “kind of like my own interior headspace,” Henry said.

While she said she can often get caught up in the technical sides of the art, she finds that people appreciate what she creates, considering she has no knowledge of art therapy.

“I have people come back to me and say like, 'oh my God, that’s exactly how I was feeling.'” Henry said.

Hearing how people connect with her work helps Henry to see how valuable it is to her and others. Now that she gets to share her art with the community, she said it's wild and leaves her awestruck.

The piece that's on display now was produced out of her time during COVID-19. She said dealing with sick family members and her own anxiety pushed her to abandon the idea of creating a graphic novel piece and paint a mixed media art piece instead. It's a collage of watercolor, ink and paint inspired by a deep-sea creature, that looks like one organism but is really a colony organism.

“It’s kind of just like this explosion of emotion and feeling and like letting yourself feel that and not trapping it in those little boxes,” Henry said.

Just as she got something out of it, the hope now, is that others will get something out of it, she said.

Henry has just a couple of weeks before she finishes her Master of Fine Arts degree. She graduates in May. She’s still hoping to create graphic novels in the near future.