The Architects Of Change Project

 is a photography series by acclaimed photographer Maria Gagliardi. The exhibit and workbook provides a platform for those struggling with mental illness to be seen.  

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  "Every five years the number of children up to the age of 14 seen by psychiatric services is doubling. In fact, out of the 100 people that you know, up to 20 will be affected at any point in time..." 

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 "Depression is also the primary cause of suicide, claiming 3000 lives a year, and is now the second most common cause of death in young people ages 15-24." 

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  Mental illness is a silent struggle where many high functioning members of our community grapple in silence which over time, can prove deadly as we see from recent suicide statistics. Although when we think of mental illness, our minds easily go to the extremes of its manifestation, so often the struggle Is far more nuanced and therefore harder to both treat and receive support for. Many people silently struggling with different forms of mental illness, especially those that are high functioning, find it isolating when that part of their identity is hidden or misunderstood.

Many people find it affirming to be seen and their struggle acknowledged. The Architects Of Change project offers that platform. This also doubles as an avenue for people that don’t understand mental illness, to get a visual representation of what it might feel like to be in that struggle.  

Through my own experience


  Maria Gagliardi worked very closely with her subjects allowing them the safe space to inspire a visual moment that perfectly exemplifies the feeling they have inside, the secret or struggle that they wished people could understand. This resulted in an exhibition that is raw, stark, and very real. 

Mental illness labels are often reduced to a sterile list of symptoms. Through this exhibit they have been given a face, and a humanity. Human frailty and strength are both celebrated in naked honesty through this exhibit.

  The creation of this book is the drive for our artist to allow each subject to claim our illness; come together without shame and raise a new bar for updated and relatable materials.

A picture speaks a thousand words

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With this workbook we will pull on the deepest emotions; give a voice to the things people may not know how to say. For those that use this book, this will be a tool to aid in the support of their mental illness and discoveries made while working through each section of the book. 

The Architects of Change Project offers light to those who suffer


 This allows people a safe space to feel and be vulnerable; to talk about what is going on; support others suffering by sharing. This disease isolates you and makes you feel as if you are alone and through these intimate sessions, allowing relatable content without judgment provides an environment where those affected to find solace and comfort and be seen. This project demands attention because of the severity and the realness of what these images show us. 

The future for ACP


We envision The Architects Of Change Project to be a permanent exhibit at art galleries. These galleries have the opportunity to partner with us in supporting their communities and acting as a spotlight for this topic. The exhibit will be for anyone and everyone; a place to offer ongoing support to those that need it. 

We intend this exhibit to showcase the bravery, the heart, and the soul of who we are.

We choose to create ongoing support and connection for more than one calendar day a year. 

How can you be a part of The Architects of Change?

If you would like to know more about The Architects of Change project, support by any connection you have, or would like to be a part of the portrait series, please email us at 

Any donation of $100.00 or over will receive a workbook. 

If you are someone that has donated over $100.00, please email your mailing address to the email above.

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