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LEAD WITH YOUR HEART : support suicide prevention Indiegogo

February 28, 2013


LEAD WITH YOUR HEART : support suicide prevention

Sent(a)Mental Studios and artist/activist Dylan Scholinski NEEDS YOUR HELP to continue the suicide prevention and open studio projects for a WHOLE YEAR !

The short bit –

Suicide continues to be on the rise and youth are dying younger and younger still. I have been opening my studio for nearly 25 years, offering my space and supplies to youth’s self expression. I have been doing what I can to support the variety of issues that confront the youth of our time, including loss, bullying, gender and sexual identities, and struggles with self-esteem to name a few… and now I really need your support to continue in this work.

I recently renamed the Sent(a)Mental Studios Youth Project – the HAVEN YOUTH PROJECT – after a young person who successfully suicided last year on Valentines Day – just 2 days after her 13th birthday. Together, with the permission of Haven’s family, we imagined that Haven could carry on by way of her name and inspiration – to provide safe space, opportunities, and creative outlets for youth to express the feelings and experiences they face when navigating the variety of transitions in their lives.

HAVEN YOUTH PROJECT, as well as many other projects of Sent(a)Mental Studios are supported mainly by Founder/Witness Dylan Scholinski – as well as by additional financial contributions and art supply donations from a variety of community members. Over the 2011/12 school year Sent(a)Mental Studios interacted with over 1,000 young people and its looking like that number is increasing in the current 2012/13 school year. Also in the past couple of years the studio has expanded to include a 2nd location, increased off-site youth groups, classes, open studio environments at conferences and pride events – as well as expanded open studio hours that include open hours over holidays, school vacations, and summer programing.

At this point, i need more than what my love, dedication, and support of this project can provide. Never before has “every little bit helps” rang more true to me – and this is where you can really help.

$12,000 in total will support the project for an entire year.

please help us reach our goal and make a donation today !

love, dylan


The Impact: some ongoing projects of Sent(a)Mental Studios that you would be supporting with a donation include:

Sent(a)Mental Project – A Memorial to LGBTIQQAA Suicides
The Sent(a)Mental Project is an ongoing collection of creative works – about, by,
or for individuals or groups affected by suicide.

CLICK HERE – Sent(a)Mental Memorial Project Video

This is an ongoing collection of stories, pictures, art, etc – in relation to the issues and experiences surrounding suicide. In addition to pieces about those who have successfully committed suicide, the project also includes a variety of survivor stories. I want to hear about and from LGBTIQQAA (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, Queer, Questioning, Asexual and Allies) people who have survived attempts as well as from those who have loved us. I feel it is important for all of us to be represented and heard. The silence around these issues is killing us. If this project can save just one life that will be good enough, but I believe we have the power to save many.


HAVEN YOUTH PROJECT – (formerly the Sent(a)Mental Studios Youth Project)
HAVEN YOUTH PROJECT provides open studio hours as well as one-on- one sessions with a variety of Denver/Boulder Metro youth – referred by various youth outreach organizations and schools. Students work with artist, Dylan Scholinski, to create their own creative works ( ie: drawing, painting, writing, sculpture, music, performance, zines, photography, storytelling ) to express their individual lives and stories – and reclaim the power and pride of their voices in a safe and supportive space.

CLICK HERE – Video of ART from Sent(a)Mental Studios Youth Project

“I never knew I had art in me”
“Thank you, thank you, thank you”
“I’m sick of being someone else, gender and names and everything else aside…
thank you for seeing me and helping me see myself”

– HAVEN Sent(a)Mental Studios Youth Project Participants –

Lead With Your Heart Collection
The Lead With Your Heart Collection is an ongoing creative collection


This collection began at the 2nd Annual Queer Youth Summit in Denver CO.
Sent(a)Mental Studios was there providing a day long open-studio environment.
The theme was “lead with your heart” partially due to the timing being so close to
Valentines Day. I began by thinking about when I was in grade school the
goal was about collecting as many valentines as I could – definitely more
about quantity rather than quality. This led to my thoughts around how if we are
truly to lead with our hearts – perhaps we should start with our own – and so this
collection was born. The idea being to use the image of the heart as a template to
fill and show how your heart feels on the inside and to use the space outside of
the heart to show what is effecting and influencing it. Each person took it their
own way and a variety of work was created. I decided to continue this as an
ongoing project in the hopes to collect the expressions of many individual hearts
and hang them all together. To show that despite all our differences – be it class,
gender, sexuality, race, etc. – we all have hearts – we all feel love, joy, fear, pain –
and in the end it is the heart that connects us all.

Mental (St)ealth Project
The Mental (St)ealth Project is a collection of creative works by psychiatric survivors.


What We Need & What You Get

All of your donations will go towards supporting Sent(a)Mental Studios students, projects, and facilities.

$12,000 will go a long way… it will support the studio and projects for a WHOLE YEAR !!!
some of what we will get with enough donations include –
  • re-supply the basics in the studio – all kinds of art supplies, new tables, more chairs, tools, etc.
  • studio rent, maintenance, for a year
  • new studio computer and printer/scanner for students
  • re-supply the basics for the “portable” travelling studio – all kinds of art supplies, new rolling carry on suitcases
  • a variety of teas, healthy snacks, mugs and utensils for open studios
  • provide sponsorship for all the youth that are involved in programing and are unable to pay class/group fees
  • outreach materials – design and printing
  • and pay to apply and become an official 501c3

some of what you will get with your donation include –

  • hugs and high 5
  • digital images of youth art from the Lead With Your Heart Collection
  • thank you letters from students that get sponsored by your donation
  • digital images from a variety of dylan’s current photographic series
  • dylan visits your book group or community event (local)
  • dylan visits your book group or community event (continental USA)

* and if we reach our goal of $12,000 we will send a HAVEN YOUTH PROJECT T-SHIRT to EVERYONE WHO DONATED – so don’t forget to include an address so i know where to send your t-shirt


in case you are wondering – Who is dylan?

Dylan currently resides in DENVER/BOULDER CO and is a distinguished artist, author, and public speaker on many issues, including suicide prevention, depression, art, etc. Dylan has appeared on 20/20, Dateline and Today to discuss his experiences and has been featured in a variety of newspapers and magazines. Recently his award-winning book (The Last Time I Wore a Dress: A Memoir – Penguin/Putnam) was listed in the Top 10 Must Reads in Out Magazines first Transgender Issue. His work not only portrays the anguish of his earlier years but also his ultimate triumph.

Dylan is the founder/witness for Sent(a)Mental Studios and frequently opens his studio to a variety of Denver/Boulder metro youth to a provide safe space to explore and discover ways of expressing and empowering themselves without bringing harm to themselves or others. He spends much of his time teaching and working in his studio, public speaking, painting, and creating zines, such as Please Forgive Me For Judging You, Sent(a)Mental, and Freedom of Depression. Dylan currently teaches at Catalyst High School, Jefferson County Open School, and Voz y Corazon. Dylan is also the collaborator of Benjamin Ballerina – Pretty Tough Clothing for Kids along with his partner Maggie Evans.

so, what happens if we don’t reach our goal?

As I mentioned before – every little bit helps. I will be able to use any and all donations towards fulfilling the needs of the youth and the studio.

and what happens if we reach and/or exceed our goal?

Well, that would be fantastic. If we meet our goal i will send each person who donated a HAVEN YOUTH PROJECT T- SHIRT — And if we exceed the goal I will be able to provide better quality supplies as well as provide opportunities for larger project idea.

and some additional ways you can help –

Please Post and Repost links to this fundraiser – talk about it, share it, and get your friends and family involved. Helping to get the word out and make some noise about this fundraiser is one of the greatest ways to assist in making this a success and making our goal attainable.

Contact Dylan and try to arrange a showing and/or speaking engagement for Dylan or Sent(a)Mental Studios at a university, gallery, church, book, or youth group near you.

and remember you can use the Indiegogo share tools!


A bit more – for those of you who want to hear more from Dylan about the philosophy and goals of his community work.

Hello again.

I am not a stranger to the issues brought up here. Unfortunately, I have lost many people to suicide and known many people too ashamed to raise their voices as psychiatric survivors. It is with this inspiration that I officially launched Sent (a) Mental Studios and its various creative projects – with the hope to bring visibility to mental health issues and draw much needed attention to the thousands of people lost within various communities over the years due to overwhelming stigma and a lack of dialogue around these issues.

When I think about community, I think about “home” – beginning with the
institutions of my youth – for this was where I first developed my ideas and beliefs around community as well as my need for it. It has been my quest as an artist to find and create space for the exploration and development of creative expressions that are born in situations of protest and in times of reclaiming self and in the witnessing of difference in the world. I hope and strive to participate in a community where there is a level of safety that holds us all accountable in success and in failure.

Building on that idea of home, my community work has emerged and evolved to be
a kind of home in and of itself. I have run several projects out of my art studio, Sent(a)Mental Studios. I started providing open studio environments for youth in Brooklyn while pursuing my MFA in 1990 and continued this type of programing when I moved to San Francisco, Washington DC and most recently to the Denver metro area. The Haven Youth Project, one of several community projects of Sent(a)Mental Studios, has been providing open studio environments to a variety of Denver/Boulder youth, creating safe space to explore and discover ways of expressing and empowering themselves without bringing harm to themselves or others. I work to help students to explore difficult emotions and experiences through creativity; to find the power and pride inside of themselves in a safe and supportive space.

It is through these art studio and projects – that I mentor, witness, and frequently attempt to empower a variety of teens in achieving their creative and personal potential; and assist them in recognizing and valuing their creative contributions to the world around them.

I believe that I have much to offer the youth i serve. I have gathered a lot from my many years of experience navigating activist, educational, and creative communities and spaces. As a queer identified artist that has historically produced and defended the creation and showing of personal narrative artworks I have maneuvered through many challenging situations. I have been raised in many urban environments such as Chicago, New York, San Francisco, Washington DC and Denver. While I bring many ties to the community organizations and individuals that I have worked with over the years, as well as the skills I have acquired in all that I have learned from these environments and community partners – I also bring with me an openness – a belief that for community to achieve its greatest success its individuals must begin by being open to changing and defending many things; including one’s mind, practice, and beliefs. I fully embrace diversity and I am open to the exchanges that happen when I my self and my experiences within a community that is open to doing the same.

Please visit and for more information.

Thanks so much for sticking around.
love, dylan


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