contact us

Use the form on the right to contact us.

You can edit the text in this area, and change where the contact form on the right submits to, by entering edit mode using the modes on the bottom right.

34 Oostelijke Handelskade
Amsterdam, NH, 1019 BM

+31 (0)20 2629913

Beautiful Distress was founded on the concept that there is a great deal of mental suffering, that not enough people are aware of this and that not enough is done to stop it.

The Foundation uses art in an attempt to open up the world of psychiatry and battle the stigma attached to it.

Why art? Beautiful Distress believes that art is pre-eminently capable of articulating and depicting the human condition


240 Beautiful_Distress_website_banner_engels_18sep.png

Beautiful Distress Art Manifestation on Mental Illness visualizes mental suffering in attempt to break taboos

Thursday 23 November marks the start of the Beautiful Distress Art Manifestation on Mental Illness.

Consisting of a two-part exhibition, a manifesto and a one-day conference, the event attempts to make mental illness visible and tangible through art while countering existing prejudices. A special side program will focus on young people.

The exhibition will be held at:

  • De School in Amsterdam-West (November 23 to December 23, 2017) and
  • Nieuw Dakota in Amsterdam-North (November 25 to January 7, 2018).

The Beautiful Distress Art Manifestation on Mental Illness is an initiative of the Fifth Season Foundation and the Beautiful Distress Foundation.

Art invites you to think differently
The Fifth Season Foundation has organized an artist residency program at Altrecht mental health organization in Den Dolder for 20 years. Inspired by the Fifth Season, the Beautiful Distress Foundation started an artist-in-residence program at the mental health department of Kings County Hospital in Brooklyn, New York in 2014.

Esther Vossen, Director and Curator of the Fifth Season and the exhibition: “In both residence programs, artists are invited to live and work on location for three months. Here, they observe the world of psychiatry and allow this to inspire their work. The resulting work is original, engaging and critical. Art appeals to your senses and to your mind while encouraging you to look at the world differently, and often makes you more aware of your own judgments.”

The exhibition introduces the audience to the works of artists Annaleen Louwes, Roy Villevoye, Erik van Lieshout, Fransje Killaers, Frank Koolen, Anouk Kruithof, Laurence Aëgerter, Aldo van den Broek and Marieke Zwart.

Advising curator to the exhibition is Museum Dr. Guislain in Ghent, Belgium, a museum that focuses on psychiatry, history and art.  

‘I only want to be happy’
Artist Annaleen Louwes: “I felt very out of place at the Kings County Hospital, in every respect. I was an intruder and outsider, which made me feel very uncomfortable. I realized that this is how people with mental illness must feel a lot of the time. I was very moved by one patients’ desperate cry, ‘I only want to be happy!’ While everyone is different, we all just want to be happy. This idea of ‘madness’ is not about people with mental difficulties. It’s actually crazy that in 2017, the mentally ill are excluded from society – thinking about this doesn’t make you very happy.”

It’s about time we talk to one another
“Our goal is to normalize psychiatric illnesses and break the taboos that surround them. Research shows that one in four people will face mental difficulties in their lifetime. In urban areas this number is one in three and growing at an alarming rate. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide. Nine in ten people with a mental illness feel marginalized and ostracized from society. This has a large impact on not only their lives and those around them but on society as a whole. It’s about time we talk to one another.” - Psychiatrist and Beautiful Distress Foundation Chairman, Wilco Tuinebreijer.

During the exhibition period, a one-day conference will be held at De School in Amsterdam-West. On 7 December, more than 200 representatives of all interest groups – artists, patients and their families, mental health care professionals, policy makers and the general public – will gather to exchange ‘best practices’, devise new solutions, and formulate recommendations to break taboos and cultivate a better understanding of and compassion for those suffering from mental illness. These recommendations will be presented to policymakers in government and mental health care. The resulting projects and initiatives will be discussed at the next conference.


  •  Jim van Os, Psychiatrist, professor and Chairman of the Brain Division at the University Medical Center Utrecht


  • Graham Thornicroft, Professor of Community Psychiatry at the Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London
  • Eric van der Burg, Alderman of Health Care at the Amsterdam Municipality
  • Annaleen Louwes, Artist
  • Sven unik-id, Artist (with experience)
  • Speaker on behalf of the group friends/family

The Beautiful Distress Art Event on Mental Illness is the first in a series of international events.

PARTICIPATING ARTISTS (several artists are yet to be confirmed)

Laurence Aëgerter, Aram Tanis, Marieke Zwart, Aldo van den Broek, Yasmijn Karhof, Dirk van Lieshout, Voebe de Gruyter, Marijn Ottenhof, Coco Young, Domenico Mangano & Marieke van Rooy, Kostana Banovic, Alexander Sand, Doris Denekamp & Geert van Mil, Jantine Wijnja, Tobias Groot, Enrico Garzaro, Anna Lenartowska, Rebecca Chamberlain, Guy Richards Smit, Frank Koolen, Anno Dijkstra, Aimée Zito Lema, Alet Pilon, Anouk Kruithof, Lotte van Lieshout, Roos Rebergen & Tim van Oosten (RoosBeef), Jikke van Loon, Marisca Voskamp, Annemiek Vera, Jean Bernard Koeman,  Annaleen Louwes, Christiaan Bastiaans, Berend Strik, Erik van Lieshout, Roy Villevoye, Fransje Killaars, Ingmar Heytze, Lisette Verkerk, Emmeline de Mooij & Adriaan Mellegers, Mario Rizzi, Mella Jaarsma & Yudi Tajudin, Nina Glockner, Willem de Rooy.

About the Fifth Season

Artist residency at the mental health organization Altrecht in Den Dolder

The Fifth Season has organized residencies at Willem Arntsz Hoeve in Den Dolder since 1998. Every year, professional artists are invited to live and work on location to create new work with the institute’s patients and employees. The resulting art projects tell their stories and address perceptions of mental illness. In addition to support from main sponsor, co-founder and host Altrecht, the Fifth Season is an independent foundation that receives financial support from various institutions and funds.                                            

about Beautiful Distress

Artist residency in the mental health department of Kings County Hospital in Brooklyn, New York

The Beautiful Distress Foundation was founded on the concept that there is a great deal of mental suffering, that not enough people are aware of this, and that too little is done to offer relief. Beautiful Distress uses art to bring to light this suffering as well as enhance the understanding of and compassion for those who deal with mental illness. Inspired by the Fifth Season Foundation, Beautiful Distress has organized artist residencies in the mental health department of Kings County Hospital in Brooklyn, New York since 2014.

For more information, please contact:
Ms. Fieke Vermeulen

Phone: +31 6 22 94 15 00

    program will be announced soon
    program will be announced soon


Het Vijfde Seizoen
Beautiful Distress