About the Foundation

The Ryan Licht Sang Bipolar Foundation is dedicated to fostering awareness, understanding and research for early-onset Bipolar Disorder. The Foundation is on a QUEST FOR THE TEST™ to find an empirical, biomarker test for Bipolar Disorder so that early detection and early intervention become a reality. Read More...

Ryan's Story

The Ryan Licht Sang Bipolar Foundation was founded in memory of Ryan Licht Sang who passed away at the age of 24. Ryan had early-onset Bipolar Disorder - a serious medical illness of the brain that manifests itself with recurring episodes of mania and depression. At the time of his death, he was in the most productive and promising phase of his life.  Read More...

Bipolar Awareness

Read about the history and meaning of the Bipolar Awareness Ribbon...


Art Exhibition of Work By Artists with Bipolar Disorder

Now that the INSIGHTS II Art Exhibition has come to a close, the Foundation is pleased to announce that a new art competition, entitled INSIGHTS III, will be held. The submission period for INSIGHTS III will begin in July, 2018 and run through December 31, 2018. For more information, please check back here next month for a link to the submission website.


INSIGHTS II:  An Art Exhibition of

Creativity and The Bipolar Brain


Friday, June 1 from 10am - 5:30pm

Saturday, June 2 from 1pm - 5:30pm

Zolla/Lieberman Gallery

325 W. Huron in Chicago

INSIGHTS II: An Art Exhibition of Creativity and The Bipolar Brain presented by The Ryan Licht Sang Bipolar Foundation features the work of artists who have Bipolar Disorder. The purpose of the Exhibition is to raise awareness of Bipolar Disorder and the work of the Foundation, and to reduce the stigma associated with Bipolar Disorder by highlighting the creativity that can often accompany this illness.

Twenty works of art were selected by an independent jury of gallerists, art collectors and artists from over 325 submissions and will be featured in Exhibition. The selected works range from paintings to sculpture, from tapestry to jewelry, and are a powerful representation of the creative minds of very talented artists.

Along with the juried art selections, INSIGHTS II will feature the work of three celebrity artists, including acclaimed glass artist Dale Chihuly, motion picture director Paul Dalio and renowned comedian Jonathan Winters, all of whom were impacted by Bipolar Disorder. In addition, work of Ryan Licht Sang, the Foundation’s namesake and a talented outsider artist, will be on display.

See the Chicago Tribune Feature Story about INSIGHTS II.





On January 5, 2017, The Ryan Licht Sang Bipolar Foundation hosted its inaugural Art Exhibition entitled, INSIGHTS I, in Palm Beach, Florida. The Exhibition featured the work of two talented artists, Christopher O’Malley Kimsey and Ryan Licht Sang, who both passed away from Bipolar Disorder in their early 20s. The Exhibition was designed to highlight the creativity that can often accompany this insidious illness of the brain. Because INSIGHTS I was so well-received and so enthusiastically embraced by the community, the Foundation launched a new initiative to showcase the talent of artists with Bipolar Disorder on a national basis and to give hope to all those who battle Bipolar Disorder by reducing the stigma associated with this disorder through greater awareness.



The submission period (August 1, 2017 to December 31, 2017) for artwork by artists with Bipolar Disorder for INSIGHTS II, a Juried Art Exhibition to be held May 31 through June 2, 2018 at the Zolla Lieberman Gallery in Chicago, Illinois, has now closed. The Exhibition will feature the work of up to twenty artists who have Bipolar Disorder, along with pieces by several celebrities with Bipolar Disorder. Each artist whose work is selected by the Jury will receive a grant in the amount of $500, and the selected artworks will become part of the Foundation’s permanent collection and be eligible to be included in other exhibitions sponsored by the Foundation.

People with Bipolar Disorder deserve a voice, and we believe that art can be a powerful way for them to express both their struggles and their joys.

More information about the upcoming Art Exhibition will be posted here in the coming months.

(Creativity banner artwork credit: Ryan Licht Sang) 


Paul Dalio - Screenwriter-Director receives Foundation's Shining Star Award 


At the Foundation’s 2017 Chicago Medical Briefing Luncheon on May 10, 2017, Screenwriter – Director Paul Dalio received The Ryan Licht Sang Bipolar Foundation’s highest honor, the Shining Star Award for his unwavering support, leadership and commitment to reducing the stigma associated with Bipolar Disorder.

Paul studied screenwriting at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts Dramatic Writing Program where he received his BA in 2004. After graduating, he went to Los Angeles to work for a film producer, but while there, he had his first psychotic episode. After two years in and out of hospitals he applied to the NYU Graduate Film Program, but during orientation week, he suffered another psychotic episode and had to leave. He took a job in construction to cope with the depression and reapplied to NYU.

In 2007, he attended the NYU Graduate Film Program where he met his wife and collaborator, Kristina Nikolova, and his professor, Spike Lee, who became his mentor and the Executive Producer on his first major motion picture, Touched with Fire. Written, directed, scored and co-edited by Paul, the film starred Katie Holmes and Luke Kirby and the New York Times called it “an extraordinarily sensitive, nonjudgmental exploration of bipolar disorder and creativity” as it traced the lives of two young poets who meet in a mental hospital’s group therapy session and fall in love. Paul’s personal journey with bipolar disorder powered the authenticity of his debut film. The title of the movie comes from a book by Kay Redfield Jamison, Ph.D., who had a cameo role in the film.

Released theatrically in February 2016, the production won the SAMHSA Voice Award for Best Film, the International Bipolar Foundation Image Award, a high audience approval score on the respected film-rating site Rotten Tomatoes and has been embraced by the bipolar community. In June 2016, The Ryan Licht Sang Bipolar Foundation held a special screening of the movie at the MCA in Chicago, hosted by the Foundation’s Young Friends Committee. Paul recorded a special video to introduce the film to the Foundation’s supporters and friends.

Paul lives in Manhattan with his wife and two children. He and Kristina are working together on two upcoming films. Both Paul and Kristina will be featured panelists at the Foundation’s Medical Briefing Luncheon in Palm Beach on January 10, 2018.


Mariel Hemingway

Mariel Hemingway spoke as a panelist at the Foundation's Palm Beach Bipolar Medical Briefing Luncheon (January 2016) and at its Chicago Medical Briefing Luncheon (May 2016) about her life and the impact of Bipolar Disorder on her family.


Mariel Hemingway was also interviewed about The Ryan Licht Sang Bipolar Foundation and Ryan in People. Click here to read the article.


Alexis Kauchick - Inaugural Junior Shining Star Award

The Ryan Licht Sang Bipolar Foundation salutes Alexis Kauchick for her exceptional commitment and leadership in support of the Foundation’s mission and goals. Although just a high school senior in South Florida, Alexis founded the Eternal Essence Candle Company that manufactures and sells soy-based candles and donates the profits to worthy causes. Since 2014, she has supported the Foundation’s events in Palm Beach and Chicago by donating not only candles to the attendees, but also by donating significant funds from the sales of her candles to further the Foundation’s work. For her outstanding activities, Alexis was presented with the inaugural Junior Shining Star Award by the Foundation in 2016 and her extraordinary commitment to the Foundation was profiled in Stay Thirsty Magazine and in People in 2015. 


Slides: 1) Images of the Human Connectome courtesy of Dr. Randy Buckner (Harvard); 2) Biomarker slide courtesy of Dr. Tom Insel from his Keynote Speech, May 6, 2009, 3rd Annual Ryan Licht Sang Bipolar Foundation Chicago Medical Briefing Luncheon and other images courtesy of the National Institute of Mental Health; 3) Human neurons generated by reprogramming human skin cells courtesy of Dr. Rakesh Karmacharya (Harvard); 4) Mariel Hemingway speaking at 10th Anniversary Chicago Early-Onset Bipolar Disorder Medical Briefing Luncheon, May 2016; and, 5) Representing some Grants and Awards made by the Foundation (for a more comprehensive list see the Foundation Grants and Awards link below).

The Ryan Licht Sang Bipolar Foundation is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization.
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