History and Her Story

In 1995 Issa Ibrahim was already five years into an indefinite involuntary institutionalization. He painted, he wrote and he sang to pass the time and feel some semblance of freedom.

In 1995 Susan Spangenberg found herself in a state hospital following teenage angst that went on a little too long.

One week after Valentine’s Day, Susan was haunting the asylum’s activity center and Issa saw her and became intrigued. He followed her into the Library and there began a romance and artistic partnership for the ages.

Rebel alumnus of Creedmoor Psychiatric Center’s renown Living Museum, H.A.I., Fountain House Gallery and ArtLifting, Issa and Susan continue to create and play and love in their own home studio and beyond.

They lovingly transformed their rent-subsidized apartment in Jackson Heights, N.Y. into a floor to ceiling, life-size storyboard and set piece to their “insanity.”

Reclaiming the psychobabble and playfully arranging their names, Iss and Sue, along with their two rescued cats Schizy and Cray Cray, inspired to form Issues Gallery…a safe space free from locked doors and cages.

“We seek to heal ourselves through the arts and provide hope, while creating a conversation of improvement to mental health concerns worldwide.”