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ACTING OUT Cleveland breaks down the stigmas and creates awareness of mental illness
and addiction through a four-day series of public art events, including film, visual art, music, comedy and panel discussion. Mental illness, addiction, and creative brilliance often go hand and hand, particularly when it comes to the arts. Derek Hess understands artists like himself are in a unique position to start dialogues about intimate universal struggles without as much fear of judgment.


ACTING OUT! is our opportunity to challenge — and change — the negative stereotypes.

Our Sponsors

presented with generous support from


All performing comedians have mental health or addiction diagnosis

ACTING OUT Cleveland
ACTING OUT Cleveland


Art Exhibition featuring work by artists living with or
affected by mental illness/addiction.


Musicians performing sets of original music and tributes to artists that lost their battle with mental illness/addiction.
Large closing night concert featuring national touring artists and mental health / addiction advocates

ACTING OUT Cleveland
ACTING OUT Cleveland


Included in the series will be “Forced Perspective” which highlights Derek Hess’ career along with his personal battle with bipolar disorder and alcoholism.


These important events open up dialogue, break down stigmas, and educate.
Hosted throughout the entire festival in various locations in GSAD.

ACTING OUT Cleveland

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