about the artist.
Bethany Ryan is a US Army veteran that resides in Leesburg, VA. Her artwork has been displayed in several veteran artist exhibits in the National Capitol Region. Bethany has a passion in advocating for mental health awareness and reducing the stigma that surrounds it. She believes that silence is deadly, and hopes her artwork resonates with people in a way that normalizes conversations and expressions of personal struggle. "People need to know that they aren’t alone in their struggles, that everyone else doesn’t have it all put together, and that there isn’t shame in needing help."
Growing up, I had never thought of myself as creative or artistic. Quite the opposite! I was always saying "I hate art. I'm terrible at art. I don't know how to draw...." etc. However, through different stages in my life, I kept coming back to art as a way to express experiences and emotions that I did not know how to convey with words.
Art has helped me to heal. In 2014, I suffered a major health crisis that lasted for several years. The illness took so many things from me. I lost relationships, my family, and my job. I did not think I would get any of those things back. I had no idea at the time that life would become even more fulfilling than it was before I became ill. I have been able to take part in incredible opportunities and meet wonderful people through the artwork I created while healing.
I am learning that even though I may not possess an art degree or professional art skills, I can create artwork that is meaningful to myself, and inspiring to others.
I realize that the things I've been fortunate enough to experience as an artist, would not have been possible without first experiencing the events that lead to crisis. I will never say "I am grateful for the trauma." But I will say "I am grateful for the things in life I have as a result of working through it."