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Editor’s note: I met Elie at her studio in Richmond where the walls were painted in vivid colors. If you’ve seen her walking her dogs you would know that she has a love for color 🙂 She is  also a passionate voice for human rights. VOCAL asked her to share a little about herself and here is her response.

I studied art at VCU and have a website coming www.elieelis.com. I believe I have about 50 hospital stays in psychiatric wards. I have 2 service dogs for the task of tactile stimulation for racing thoughts.

Support from understanding people is very important during a brain illness and I believe education toward understanding mental illness has progressed but we still have a long way to go. I believe the mass murders that have been done by psychiatric patients could be prevented by proper after care. I realize that when I leave a ward of acute illness the system does not provide after care long term for those who need it. We have many homeless mentally ill people.

I am inspired by God and my work. I also love my children and do want to take good care of them. Having service dogs makes my days go by happier. I recommend art education to all public school children for a brighter future. I discovered it in college but it is tragic if we do not educate our children. I am a visionary artist and my work at times feels frustrating because I have to inform the public about it and that takes time. I hope for the future to build my school World preschool and with the publicity do good to change the world. I have also had a counselor who has been with me 6 years. She is very helpful during the extreme downs and ups.

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