Jeff Sparr wants to make mental illness cool. Not cool to have, but cool to support. Diagnosed with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder in his 20s, Sparr relied on medication, exercise and therapy to keep his condition in check, but it wasn’t until he found painting that he felt his regimen was complete. “I painted, it made me feel better, maybe it could help others,” Sparr writes on the website of PeaceLove Studios, a Rhode Island-based operation Sparr co-founded with his cousin Matt Kaplan that recently opened its second location on Fourth and Fremont in Downtown Las Vegas.
Visitors can buy canvases (ranging from $20 to $1,000) and decorate them over the course of 30 days, or donate canvases to partnering community programs. They can keep their works, or sell them for double. If sold, an artwork’s proceeds are split between reimbursing the artist and enabling PeaceLove to donate another canvas. “It’s a way for you to take a breath, take a moment to create a little space for yourself,” studio director HeidyNoelle Stamper says. For hours and workshops, check out. peacelovestudios.com.