Gretchen Wiker and Renee Aronsohn use their challenge money to fund a unique scholarship for mentally ill artists. Gretchen hears about the Fountain Gallery through her friend Heather. Heather's brother, Glenn Moosnick, was a talented artist affiliated with the New York gallery. After he died, his family established a scholarship in his name.
"The day that [Glenn] died, I knew that any money people wanted to donate in his memory had to go to the Fountain Gallery because of the impact that it had on his life," Heather says. "It was a place—the only place in this world—where he was able to become a respected member of the community, where people saw [him] for the artist he was, not just somebody struggling with mental illness."
The gallery is an offshoot of Fountain House, a 56-year-old organization providing services for the mentally ill in New York City. It serves 40 artists who show and sell their work through the gallery. As Heather makes clear, the gallery is not a center for art therapy but a facility helping artists with mental illness realize their professional dreams.
Artists affiliated with the gallery tell Gretchen how Glenn inspired them and how his inspiration lives on through the scholarship. Gretchen and Renee give $2,000 to the memorial fund—enough to help four to six artists buy art supplies, take classes and pursue their art for a year.
"I found this week both exhilarating and emotional, much more than I would have guessed at the start," Gretchen says.