• Will Averill

The Weekend #ArtHeals


It's hard to believe that after eight months of meeting and planning, #ArtHeals is actually happening this weekend.


The Willow's event to raise awareness for Domestic Violence Awareness Month features a screening of a documentary on DV & talkback with Executive Director Megan Stuke, a survivor art exhibition, an awards ceremony for Stronger Today Virtual 5K, a social stitching circle, workshops on poetry, memoir writing, and pop up word art, and finally a community concert featuring Monzie Leo, Hannah Norris & The Band, Katlyn Conroy, Lawrence Free State Aurora choir, and Lawrence Children's Choir. All of these events are free and open to the public, thanks to a partnership with Lawrence Arts Center and the amazing Margaret Weisbrod Morris.


All of this wouldn't have been possible without the DVAM team - Willow Board President John Connolly, amazing supporter, leader, and guide, who did a ton of work getting runners and working on Stronger Today 5K. Meghan Heriford organized the concert single-handedly, and is amazing and dynamic and consistently positive force both for The Willow and for our community. Melia Melia Johnson Stockham, inventor of the Stronger Today 5K Donut Buffet, lent energy and drive to the DVAM planning committee as well as arranging t-shirts and getting a video made. My colleagues Felix Rodriguez, Lana Taber Grove, and Hannah Sroor helped guide decisions on the art exhibition and provided support and advice during planning. In the past two months, Lana has worked incredibly hard making new art, curating every piece, getting framing materials and framing it, and hanging a stunning and profession show in mere weeks, while being a full-time advocate as well. Elizabeth Sullivan was a great go-between on the committee as well, offering great suggestions for the workshops and arts events. Megan Green Stuke gave us a brilliant combination of guidance and trust to make the events come together and was crucial in getting our designs and logos together. Leila Ahvarhoush is the event master, and her logistical help gathering things setting them up will make us look great as always. Finally, Taylor Ayanna recommended "Behind Closed Doors" a documentary that takes an unflinching look at DV and is a great starting point for important conversations. And on the Arts Center side, Jessica Ray has been super helpful keeping everything organized and moving.


The next two days are likely to be a blur, but without these folks, they never would have been in the first place. I hope that you'll consider joining us for some of the events. I hope we can raise awareness both of the scope and cost of domestic violence to our community, and also raise awareness of the services and support The Willow has to offer. We can no longer afford to push domestic violence away and consider it a private matter. It's time to have difficult conversations about domestic violence, a public health issue which affects 1 in 3 men, 1 in 7 women, and 30%-50% of trans and non-binary folk. There is a domestic violence incident every 22 minutes in Kansas. And that is just what is reported. Please come and learn more. Come and support. Come and join the conversation.


Here's the full listing of events. All events are free, but workshops and the concert are ticketed: https://www.willowdvcenter.org/artheals

© 2020 by The Willow Domestic Violence Center.

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