Mental Health Activists ASW and Tommie Sunshine Launch Grooving For Good, Combining Art and Music with Mental Health Advocacy

It’s been nearly a decade since singer-songwriter-producer Alex Wagner was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and placed on an involuntary hold in a hospital’s mental health wing. Since then, his challenging yet inspiring years of recovery manifested in his ASW producer project, which focuses on fostering mental health conversations, awareness and advocacy through creative mediums. 

After being a panelist on Machine Gun Kelly and SPIN Magazine’s collaborative Charity Art Show last fall, as well as hosting a fundraising livestream series last summer which raised nearly $10,000 for nonprofit Crisis Text Line, the Seattle-based artist has founded his own not-for-profit program called Grooving For Good. The newly-minted organization creates safe spaces for college youth to explore their mental health, educates students about resources available in times of crisis, and amplifies hope and resilience through art and music.

On Thursday, May 19, Grooving For Good will debut at The University of Washington in partnership with acclaimed electronic music producer/fellow mental health advocate Tommie Sunshine, the nation’s largest mental health non-profit NAMI, student-run organization Pup Support, and media partner SPIN Magazine who will livestream the entire Grooving For Good experience for the whole world to enjoy.

We keep going to these clubs and festivals because they transcend us from our daily lives, an escape with a pulse. Through Grooving For Good, I want to apply that same transportive, transformational power to mental health awareness and education.

ASW

In its mission to integrate dance music into mental health conversations with college youth, Grooving For Good will deliver a free, first-of-its-kind student experience in two parts: The Garden and The Dahlia Experience.

First, The Garden will invite students to join an interactive panel featuring Tommie SunshineNAMIPup Support, and Wagner himself to discuss hope, resilience, empowerment, and support. Participants will also be given art materials to draw as they explore these critical building blocks of wellbeing. Afterwards, The Dahlia Experience will encourage students to present their poetry, music, dance, and art on stage with high-end production to illuminate their stories. Tommie Sunshine and ASW will then conclude the on-campus art exhibitions with their own DJ performances. 

Because Grooving For Good will be free for participating students, ASW has launched a GoFundMe to offset event expenses like venue fees, staffing, production, and art materials for over 400 attendees. The GoFundMe has already raised more than $2,000 towards the ultimate goal of $25,000. Pup Support will also receive 10% of the total amount raised by crowdfunding for their future on-campus initiatives on campus.

Wagner is no stranger to propelling advocacy through music; following the Pulse Nightclub shooting in 2016, he organized Amplify Love fundraising concerts at Seattle’s Kremwerk and Portland’s Hawthorne Theater which benefited Gay City in Seattle and Q Center in Portland, respectively. A Certified Peer Counselor in the state of Washington, Wagner has also volunteered as a Crisis Counselor for Crisis Text Line, and recently launched his weekly mental health column ‘Bloom’ via SPIN Magazine’.

As a singer-songwriter-producer, ASW has released his rock-fueled electronic soundscapes via Atlantic RecordsBig Beat RecordsBrooklyn Fire Records, and Popgang Records, and was spotlighted by DJ Mag as ‘an emerging artist-to-watch’.

Elena Lin Administrator
I am a concert/festival photographer based in St. Louis. I’m always eager to travel for new music and experiences and to meet new faces!
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Elena Lin Administrator
I am a concert/festival photographer based in St. Louis. I’m always eager to travel for new music and experiences and to meet new faces!

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