Art Show, Mental Health Discussion Will Honor Beloved VCD Professor’s Legacy
This winter at Kent State, an art show and featured speaker on mental health will honor the life and legacy of assistant professor and artist Christopher Darling, who died June 2018.
The events will take place Thursday, Jan. 30, 2020, hosted by the School of Visual Communication Design, in which Darling taught:
- The opening of “Christopher Darling,” a retrospective of the artist and professor’s work, from 4-7 p.m. in Taylor Hall’s gallery. The show will run through March 19.
- A presentation by national mental health expert Kay Redfield Jamison, Ph.D., at 7 p.m. in 306 Cartwright Hall
Both events are open to the public.
Jamison’s talk, “Touched with Fire,” will explore mental health and the arts. Jamison, who has spoken on college campuses across the country, was named a “Hero of Medicine” by TIME magazine and will offer students and guests a unique insight into the world of mental illness. Her New York Times bestseller “An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness,” details her own battles with manic depression.
Darling lost his battle with bipolar disorder at the age of 36. He left behind the love of his life, his wife Elaine, and a son, Drennan, born Nov. 4, 2018.
Darling began teaching illustration and digital design at Kent State in 2014. Outside teaching, he had a thriving freelance career with commissions from Sony, the United Nations and The New Yorker. He received awards and was honored by The Society of Illustrators for both his Cleveland drawings and the Hough Mural. As an artist, he was a champion of social justice. His own murals portrayed themes of diversity and emancipation, often surrounding infant mortality among minorities and immigration. The spring before he died, he managed an art show at Kent State featuring the work of incarcerated artists.
“If you knew Christopher, then you knew he was a remarkably talented and gifted illustrator, professor and person,” said Amy Reynolds, Dean of the College of Communication and Information. “He was committed to social justice issues and he was a passionate advocate for those without a voice in society. He believed strongly in the power of illustration and design to lift others. He had a wonderful sense of humor and he was a thoughtful and kind colleague.”