‘You are not alone.’ Mural paints simple but powerful message

You Are Not Alone Murals is a public art project that seeks to destigmatize issues around mental health and encourage discussion.

Marissa Alter

May 24, 2023, 12:24 AM

Updated 361 days ago

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A simple but powerful message covers the old Bank of America building on the Post Road in Darien: "You are not alone."
“It’s big and bright and yellow for a reason. It's meant to be really impactful,” said Brian Kaspr, an artist from Norwalk who teamed up with the nonprofit You Are Not Alone Murals to paint the two-story mural. You Are Not Alone Murals is a public art project that seeks to destigmatize issues around mental health and encourage discussion. There are over 65 murals worldwide with the group’s signature colors of yellow, black, white, and gray.
Kaspr told News 12 he’d been in talks with the group since last summer to bring the initiative to Fairfield County. He reached out to David Genovese, CEO of Baywater Properties, to pitch the idea of using one of the buildings set for demolition as part of the Corbin District redevelopment in downtown Darien.
“It hit close to home because I lost a 14-year-old nephew to suicide six years ago,” Genovese said.
The Darien community has also suffered this type of loss. Last year, two high school students killed themselves.
“The mental health of all our kids is so important,” said Amy Daniels, CEO of The Depot, Darien’s youth center, which raised money for the project.
The painting took two days at the beginning of the month, then the public added to the conversation.
“The folks from the You Are Not Alone Murals project painted the word “shame” on the glass front store windows that were on the first level of the building. And then community members came, ranging in age from little kids to seniors and wrote over that message,” Daniels explained.
They shared words of encouragement, hope, and positivity. Some wrote the names of loved ones who had died by suicide or were struggling with mental health challenge.
“Everyone came together to raise awareness around mental health and destigmatize it,” Daniels said.
“The response has been extraordinary. People from all over the region have emailed me, have texted us, have commented on our Instagram page, just saying, ‘Thank you,’” Genovese told News 12.
“I feel touched that it is impacting people. I feel hopeful that it's encouraging people and empowering people to get the help that they need,” Kaspr added.
The building is set to be demolished next month, but the message on it isn’t temporary. The hope is to keep the conversation going about mental health. Kaspr also said You Are Not Alone Murals will be back in the area at the end of the summer. The plan is to paint permanent murals and engage the communities in Norwalk and Darien.


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