“Behind every mask there is a face, and behind that a story.” -- Marty Rubin
Did you know that April is Child Abuse Prevention and Sexual Assault Awareness Month? Tashmika Torok and the Lansing-based Firecracker Foundation challenge us to spend this month talking about how we all have the power to protect, heal and support child survivors of sexual trauma in our community. The artist in me heard that challenge and I made masks. We all wear masks. Behind our masks we have stories. Stories of strength, survival, sadness, joy and love.
When I first came out of college, I thought I could change the world. I tried. Trust me, I tried. Now years and careers later, I realize change takes place in small and steady steps. The Lansing-based Firecracker Foundation's mission -- to honor the bravery of children who have survived sexual trauma by building a community invested in the healing of their whole being -- touched me. Tashmika's willingness to tell her own story, and her ferocity to lead an organization in a subject that most people won't talk about, touched me.
Did you know that 1 in 5 girls and 1 in 20 boys is a victim of child sexual abuse? In Michigan, in 2013, it was reported a child is abused or neglected every 16 minutes. The impact is often discussed in terms of physical, psychological, behavioral, and societal consequences. In reality, it is all rolled into one. Through the Firecracker Foundation children receive free services, including mental health therapy and yoga therapy to aid in the healing process. Soon, the Foundation hopes to offer additional services such as athletic programs and art. Learn more here.
I am proud to support the work of the Firecracker Foundation as part of my current exhibition at Grove Gallery in East Lansing. A percentage of the proceeds from the sale of each mask will go directly to the Foundation. The point of my Shadow Side show is to challenge the viewer to think about what often lies behind the beauty that we see or the masks that we wear. Perhaps that will help us remove our masks.
Additional Information: Shadow Side Exhibit, Grove Gallery, E. Lansing, MI
Through April 24, 2016. Hours: 12.-5:30 Wednesday-Friday, 11-5 Saturday, 12-4 Sunday