New Day Campaign Maryland
The following letter was sent to New Day Campaign followers on April 19, 2019:
Dear New Day Campaign Family,
I am writing to let you know the New Day Campaign is holding its final event on June 27, 2019.
Much has unfolded since my daughter Elisif died of an accidental overdose on February 11, 2014. It began really with A New Day, a posting I wrote just a few days after she passed and shared on my Bruun Studios newsletter. That piece became something of a manifesto, leading in late 2015 to what had by then become known as the New Day Campaign - an initiative built upon the time, treasures, and talents of hundreds that held 16 art exhibitions and 63 events in the Baltimore area over a three month period, all aimed at using arts programming and public engagement to challenge stigma associated with mental illness and substance use, making the world a more healing place.
The 2015 run of programs begot a concerted effort to launch the New Day Campaign as an organization. 18 months in, it had become clear there was both appetite and need for what we were offering, but the non-profit model was not the right one to carry it forward. Thus, as an initiative born of loss and pain and carried primarily on my own shoulders in its first year, the New Day Campaign was returned to me in late 2017. The Campaign became an initiative under the auspices of Bruun Studios, with programming taking place opportunistically wherever need and means aligned.
Since late 2017, I have taken New Day Campaign programming across the State: Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Harford County, Allegany County, Kent County, and Dorchester County have all hosted impactful programs. Along the way, I have brought along old friends and made new ones. I have marveled at the resilience, dedication, humanity, talent, and overall sense of hope and fellowship of so many I have come to know. It is inspiring to know all the good things out there.
Now - today - is time to close the curtain.
Let me be clear on two things. First, it is abundantly obvious that the need for New Day Campaign-like activities has not dissipated. The demand for what we do remains robust, and the support available. No - it is not that there is thinning potency to what we do, but rather the air is so thick with it that it seems every way I turn there is another activity to applaud that is in perfect alignment with what we have been about.
In other words, it is not that there is no need for what the New Day Campaign offers, but rather there is no need for the New Day Campaign to house it: it’s happening.
And the second thing: though I am shutting down a branded initiative called the New Day Campaign, I am not stopping what I do. And just as the community does not need a New Day Campaign to bring healing work and awareness around stigma associated with behavioral health challenges to the rest of us, neither do I. Indeed, I believe moving forward I will have greater flexibility and range in pursuing my own passion around this work unburdened of the New Day Campaign mantle. And so it shall be.
But not before a final farewell - a grand finale.
Please know I am currently at work with The Institute for Integrative Health (TIIH) and Vet Arts Connect on Sticks & Stones, an exhibition to be held in June at TIIH in Baltimore. There will be three events taking place in conjunction with that exhibition, the final one on Thursday, June 27, 5:30-9pm. Fittingly, it is to be called Finale.
For that event, we will look forward and backward - back at the years of programming we have experienced, celebrating those we have worked with (your art and stories), and we will look forward to the so many of you who are carrying on this work, part of a movement that transcends any one brand called the New Day Campaign. With Finale, we bid farewell to the New Day Campaign, and offer a parade of others worth knowing of and celebrating: we celebrate you.
I do hope you can join me for this joyous event. We will be sharing details on all aspects of the Sticks & Stones exhibition soon, and I hope you keep an eye out for it.