Thursday, September 7, 2017

UIS Visual Arts Gallery presents "Live Through This" by photographer, writer and suicide awareness activist Dese’Rae L. Stage

The University of Illinois Springfield Visual Arts Gallery presents “Live Through This,” a UIS Engaged Citizen Common Experience (ECCE) lecture and corresponding solo exhibition from photographer, writer and suicide awareness activist Dese’Rae L. Stage.

Stage will present her lecture on Thursday, September 28 from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. in Brookens Auditorium. An exhibition reception will immediately follow at the UIS Visual Arts Gallery from 6:30 to 8 p.m. The exhibition will run from Thursday, September 28 through Thursday, October 19.

Stage is a Philadelphia-based artist, suicide awareness activist, and public speaker. She struggled with self-injury for nine years and survived a suicide attempt catalyzed by an emotionally and physically abusive relationship. These experiences, coupled with the loss of friends to suicide and the lack of resources for attempt survivors, prompted her to create “Live Through This”.

“Live Through This” is a collection of portraits and true stories of 180 suicide attempt survivors in 33 cities across the United States. “Live Through This” reminds us that suicide is a human issue by putting faces and names to the statistics that have been the only representation of attempt survivors in the past.

Stage speaks at universities and conferences nationwide. She provided commentary for The Glenn Beck Program, Fox News and BBC Radio. Her writing was published by Cosmopolitan, Huffington Post, and XoJane. In January 2017, she received a SXSW Community Service award, the American Association of Suicidology’s inaugural Transforming Lived Experience Award and received Investigation Discovery’s Every Day Hero award. “Live Through This” has received extensive media coverage, including features in The New York Times, Associated Press, NPR, and more. Stage is featured in an upcoming documentary about suicide prevention advocates called “The S Word,” due out later this year.

“Live Through This” is co-sponsored by the UIS Visual Arts Gallery, The UIS ECCE Speaker Series, NPR Illinois (WUIS) and the UIS Office of Gender and Sexuality Services. “Live Through This” launches Queertober at UIS, a month-long celebration in October that features educational, informative, and social events that raise awareness and provide support for sexual and gender minority students (LGBTQIA+) and communities at UIS.

The Visual Arts Gallery is centrally located on the UIS campus in the Health and Science Building, Room 201, and is open Monday through Thursday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The Access Gallery is located in the Visual and Performing Arts Building and is open Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

For more information, visit the UIS Visual Arts Gallery website at or contact the gallery at 217/206-6506 or

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