Art Show Commemorates Life of Young Artist

Click here to print this page
Thursday November 25, 2010

Toronto, ON: More than 700 people are expected to gather at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto this evening for a unique art show and sale featuring works by artists living with depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder or psychosis. Touched By Fire, a judged art show and sale hosted by the Mood Disorders Association of Ontario, commemorates the life of Rebecca Burghardt, a young artist studying at the prestigious School of the Art Institute of Chicago who chose to take her own life after years of living with severe bipolar disorder.

“Rebecca would be so very proud of Touched By Fire and the opportunity it is giving artists to be celebrated for their incredible talent,” said John Burghardt, Rebecca’s father and founder of Touched By Fire. “This is a legacy of hope and accomplishment.”

Judges chose 66 works of art to be displayed this evening from more than 550 online submissions. Artists in attendance tonight will be represented from across Ontario and as far away as Halifax. In a very special addition, five works of art will be on display from students at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.  An award, sponsored by Bristol-Myers Squibb Canada, will be given out for the best student art. Judges will also decide the winner of the Rebecca Burghardt Award for the best art work in the show.

“I’m always amazed at the courage, strength and resilience of artists who live with mood disorders yet continue to create stunning works of art,” said Karen Liberman, Executive Director, Mood Disorders Association of Ontario. “Touched By Fire showcases such a range of art and reminds us all that there is light in the darkness.”

In keeping with the aim to celebrate and support artists, all funds from the sale of the art work go directly to the artists. Many of the artists have also donated smaller works that will be available for sale for $25.00, funds that will support the Mood Disorders Association’s free programs that run throughout Ontario.

“We’re pleased to support Touched By Fire because we believe deeply in supporting the arts in Canada, and the individuals and families who live with the many challenges surrounding mood disorders,” said Peter Kahnert, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Corporate Communications at Raymond James, the presenting sponsor of Touched By Fire. “This event is a reminder to all of us that there is help and hope for people affected by mood disorders.”

Touched By Fire takes place tonight at the Royal Ontario Museum (100 Queen’s Park) beginning at 6:30 p.m. Attendance is free. Touched By Fire will be followed by a celebration, The Flamin’ After Party, at the Bedford Academy (36 Prince Arthur Blvd.). Tickets for the after party are $15.00.

About the Mood Disorders Association of Ontario ( Informed by the lived experience, the Mood Disorders Association of Ontario serves communities through providing: awareness, education and training; family and youth clinical support; recovery programs; and, peer support.


For more information, or to arrange interviews with artists, please contact:

Jennifer Foulds, Mood Disorders Association of Ontario, (416) 486-8046 ext. 232; (647) 771-5815 (cell)