Posts Tagged ‘domestic violence awareness month’

Journey Shoes: Walking In the Cycle of Violence

October 16, 2012

Journey Shoes: Cycle of Violence

Over at 6 Degrees of Creativity 2, I have waited to begin Magdalena Karlick‘s Journey Shoes workshop until this month, as I knew I wanted to do something around the shoes and Domestic Violence Awareness, which the month of October recognizes.

Magdalena’s workshop encourages exploration of a journey or experience through altering one’s own shoes or used shoes as symbols and expressions of these journeys. Read more about the concept behind Magdalena’s project with graduate art therapy students at Southwestern College here.

The pair of shoes I used for this project are not my own, but an abandoned, unwearable pair from the domestic violence shelter I work in offering art therapy to women and children. The shoes tell a story about the cycle of violence victims of abuse endure and its impact.

The top of the shoes are labeled and then stitched with components of the cycle of violence: acting out, tension building, minimizing, and then a period of calm.  The inside soles of the shoes include black and white portraits representing victims and feelings of (but not limited to) hurt, shame, fear, and guilt.  The shoes are displayed on a canvas board I’ve distressed with ink, beeswax, and collaged with dictionary definitions related to finding safety and hope.

Awareness and education about domestic violence has often been communicated through the symbolism of shoes in the form of educational exhibits, empathy based programming, fundraising walks or drives, and memorializing displays.

Check out these current or past activities involving shoes related to domestic violence:

In the future, I would like to create a response that uses another pair of shoes that highlights survivorship, resiliency, and new beginnings, as well as think more about how to incorporate this workshop’s prompt into my clinical work.

Thank you to Magdalena for sharing her powerful Journey Shoes idea!

Getting the Picture [VIDEOS]: Domestic Violence Awareness Month 2012

October 8, 2012

In an effort to recognize Domestic Violence Awareness Month 2012, this year I wanted to showcase some videos that share survivors’ stories, as well as educate others about domestic violence through art.

Broken Beautiful: A Portrait of Domestic Violence tells the story of survivor and founder of Be a Voice Arts Michelle Johnson Major, “whose husband took a butcher knife and slashed ninety-four of her paintings before attempting to murder her by strangling her to unconsciousness”  (2009, YouTube).  Links to Michelle’s work have been previously posted on this blog for DVAM, but the video below shares the story of her abuse and survival through her art:


Monsters in the Closet: Domestic Violence From a Child’s View– This powerful animation sponsored by The Verizon Foundation and the National Domestic Violence Hotline “sheds light on the effects of domestic violence in the home, through the eyes of a child” (2011, YouTube).


AWBW- Art as a Healing Tool– Another organization I have also featured in past DVAM posts is A Window Between Worlds and the programs they offer to help end domestic violence through art.  Here’s a peek into AWBW and their work with survivors:


Finding a Voice for Domestic Violence Survivors through Art: I was honored to have the video I created for DVAM in 2011 shown at Anna Marie’s Alliance’s (St. Cloud, Minnesota) as part of last week’s “Safety Today…Hope Tomorrow” fundraiser that included recognizing the benefits of art therapy.


If you or someone you know is in need of help, here are some local, state, and national resources to reach out to:

Ohio Department of Mental Health Art Display : Youth Exposed to Domestic Violence

October 1, 2012

Earlier this year I was invited by the Ohio Department of Mental Health (ODMH) to display some of the art from youth that I work with in individual and group art therapy at the Domestic Violence & Child Advocacy Center (DVCAC).  ODMH showcases quarterly art displays from various programs and consumers from around the state in their Columbus office at the James A. Rhodes State Office Tower.

According to the ODMH website, ODMH “works to assure access to quality mental health services for Ohioans at all levels of need and life stages”.   One of ODMH’s core beliefs is a commitment to Trauma Informed Care, as well as the Resiliency of Youth.  Check out both of these links on the ODMH website to learn more and access their recommended resources.

The display from DVCAC runs October 1 through December 31 and features art expressions from children & adolescents who have been impacted by domestic violence and are involved in group or individual art therapy through DVCAC’s community-based outreach program. Art on display explores themes related to safety, resilience, emotional expression, domestic violence prevention, and managing trauma stress. Art expressions include collage, drawing, painting, handmade papermaking, paper house making, and mask making.  Click on the image below to download a flier [PDF] about the display.

The timing of this exhibit’s start is also aligned with October being recognized as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Look for related DVAM posts to be featured here on Creativity in Motion throughout this month, as well as resources about domestic violence collected on my trauma informed pinterest board.

If you are in the Columbus area over the next three months, take a moment to visit ODMH and this display.  My appreciation to the youth who participated through sharing their art, feelings, and a part of their life to empower their own voice, as well as bring awareness to others about their experience.

Art as a Voice: Art Therapy with Survivors of Domestic Violence

September 14, 2011

I am putting some finishing touches on my paper presentation for the annual Buckeye Art Therapy Association (BATA) Symposium about art therapy with survivors of domestic violence, which includes my current work with women and children in a shelter setting.  I am looking forward to sharing how art therapy provides an important voice and facilitate support around key issues such as creating safety, the cycle of violence, facilitating trauma intervention as well as offers an opportunity towards understanding, coping, and hope.

Attendees will:

  • learn trauma informed considerations, common treatment goals, and art interventions to consider when working with this population;
  •  learn about the impact of domestic violence and three ways art therapy empowers survivors feel safe and tell their story;
  • be able to identify three treatment goals to utilize in art therapy when working with survivors of domestic violence;
  •  be introduced to art interventions that help address issues around safety, support, the cycle of violence, and crisis intervention.

The paper will also highlight some content forthcoming in a new chapter about art therapy and domestic violence in the Second Edition of the Handbook of Art Therapy to be published in November.  It is a sincere honor to be a co-author of this chapter and wonderful that Guildford Press wanted to include a chapter dedicated to the use of art therapy with domestic violence survivors in this new edition.

This presentation also takes place on the eve of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, which is great timing to bring additional awareness to the issue, its impact, and resources to help survivors.

I look forward to seeing friends and colleagues from across Ohio and beyond come together soon for this year’s Symposium!

In the News: The Power of Art to Address Domestic Violence

October 20, 2010


Domestic Violence Awareness Month

As Domestic Violence Awareness Month continues throughout October, it has been nice to read several news articles this month highlighting the use of the arts to help raise awareness about domestic violence within communities and also how art can help survivors:

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