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By Mara Koch
Special to The PREVIEW
In conjunction with Thingamajig Theater Company’s production of “The Vagina Monologues,” Archuleta County Victim Assistance Program (ACVAP) will sponsor a Survivors Art Exhibit at Pagosa Center for the Arts.
The exhibit opens Friday, Feb. 8, and runs through Sunday, Feb. 17.
The purpose of the art exhibit is to raise community awareness around the effects of violence on women and girls. It is an opportunity for survivors of violence to express their experiences and the effects they have had on their lives and on their families and community. It is ACVAP’s hope that this exhibit will be an empowering experience for survivors and will serve to break through the silence that often surrounds domestic and sexual violence in the community.
Survivors of violence will have an opportunity to create artwork for the exhibit through ongoing support groups. Art is a powerful mode of expression that can facilitate the process of healing from violence. Community members are encouraged to submit their artwork for the exhibit as well, as long as it reflects the theme of raising community awareness. All submissions must be received by Friday, Feb. 1.
ACVAP is facilitating a community art workshop Saturday, Jan. 26, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Pagosa Springs Youth Center. The workshop is free of charge and art supplies will be available. Mara Koch, outreach and education coordinator with ACVAP, will facilitate A Window Between Worlds “Power Shields” art workshop, which will give community members an opportunity to create an artistic representation of their personal power. These images of personal empowerment represent the act of reclaiming power that is taken from a survivor during an act of violence. Community members may exhibit their work in the Survivors Art Exhibit, alongside the work of other survivors. Although the workshop is focused on female survivors of domestic and sexual violence, such violence also affects men and others in the community. All are encouraged to create artwork that furthers the exhibit theme. For more information on the upcoming community art workshop or to submit a piece for the exhibit, please contact Koch at (970) 946-5276.
Opening night of “The Vagina Monologues,” Friday, Feb. 8, at 7 p.m., will be a community awareness-raising event. Not only will the audience experience the poignant messages of the effects of gender and sexual violence through the production, but they will also have the opportunity to participate in a panel discussion. Carmen Hubbs, executive director of ACVAP, will lead the discussion and highlight the issue of domestic and sexual violence in our community. Advocates will be available to provide support, as the production’s subject matter can be emotionally triggering. Plus, ACVAP advocates are always available through the 24-hour hotline at (970) 264-9075.
The production and art exhibit will support the local domestic violence/sexual assault agency’s community efforts with art sales and additional donation opportunities available through ticket sales. Theatergoers will enjoy an award-winning production and have the opportunity to support local efforts toward ending violence against women and girls in our community.