What is the most rewarding part of being an artist in our community?
Most of my art has been in body positivity communities I’m part of. The only art I’ve specifically shared in the Ithaca area was actually as part of two Advocacy Center art shows many years ago. One of my pieces from the first show I participated in actually hangs in the Advocacy Center now. I didn’t know that until I became a client several years ago, and seeing it on the wall my first time in the office helped me feel less nervous about being there. I guess that’s the most rewarding part of creating art for me — being able to express something creatively that might speak to others and help them feel less lonely, whether it be about my experiences as a survivor or my experiences related to body image.
What prompted you to enter the Take Back the Night Art Contest?
When I heard the theme “Power of Community,” the idea of people working together to uncover a beautiful night sky almost immediately popped into my head, so I started trying to bring that idea to life. Take Back the Night always falls during a challenging time of the year for me related to my own history of sexual abuse, so working on a design this year felt like a way to contribute and be involved while still recognizing my need to pace myself and honor my own healing during this time.
What were you trying to communicate with your design?
This year’s Take Back the Night theme resonated strongly for me with respect to the role the Advocacy Center has played and continues to play in my own healing: a reminder that I am not alone. I am always in community, be that with one other person or a roomful of people. The timing of TBTN is always challenging for me because it coincides with the hardest anniversary I experience related to my sexual assaults. This year, it falls on the exact date and the same day of the week. I’m not yet sure how I’ll decide to handle that on April 29th, but creating this image felt like a way to acknowledge both the importance of that day in my own history and in my healing, but also the importance of Take Back the Night for our community. I was struck by this sentence in the call for submissions: “Community is not only necessary for survival, but for support, healing, connection, and growth.” My design illustrates fires for representing those four forces (support, healing, connection, and growth) working in unison to pull back ripped paper to uncover the beauty of the night – specially, a waning crescent moon which should coincide with the moon phase on April 29th, 2022.
What message do you want to send to people participating in TBTN?
Look around. TBTN is a visible reminder that we’re not alone in this.
Five for Fun:
If you could have any superpower, which would you choose?
To choose when I need support from others and when I don’t.
If you could meet five people, living or dead, who would you want to meet?
- the author Terry Tempest Williams; 2) my great aunt Vera; 3) Mary Chapin Carpenter; 4) Oprah; 5) Christine Blasey Ford
If you could be a character from a book or movie, who would you be?
I have no idea. You’ve stumped me. Lol.
What would you name your autobiography?
Women Walk Me Home (I actually have a memoir in progress and this is the “working title” that keeps coming up for me.)Motto or personal mantra?
Thanks to my advocate, the thing I find myself repeating in my head over and over the past few years is “You’ve got this.”
Buy 2022 Take Back the Night Tshirt
on the Ithaca Commons from 7-9pm on Friday April 29