Akron Zoo joins the Bipolar Butterfly Project with new sculpture


The Akron Zoo is joining the Bipolar Butterfly Project to help raise awareness and understanding for mental health. The bipolar butterfly sculpture is zoo-themed and now on display in the Akron Zoo’s Lehner Family Foundation Zoo Gardens.  

The butterfly sculpture was painted by artist, Kimmy Henderson, who is the founder of the Bipolar Butterfly Project. The initiative was started as a visual representative to raise awareness and show community for anyone dealing with mental health. 

“I am bipolar with generalized anxiety disorder,” said Henderson. “I painted a butterfly in the midst of that mania before being diagnosed. After finding a regime that worked best for me, I realized how well that painting represents bipolar disorder – how on one side it is beautiful and inspiring while on the other it is chaos and disaster. I feel it represents all mental illness because we try to show our best and beautiful selves on one side even when we may be crumbling on the other.”

The project strives to change the stigma on mental illness and encourages support and understanding.

“I want to change the stigma on mental health,” Henderson said. “I want to help end the stigma by creating a visual representation to raise awareness and show our community and unity for anyone dealing with mental health.”

The Akron Zoo’s bipolar butterfly joins others in the community, such as Belden Village Mall, Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens and Up Front Art Space. 

The sculpture was fabricated by Falls Metal Fabricators & Industrial Services, Troy Phillabaum and CLS Finishing.