For artist Malena Magnolia, the subject of sexual and domestic violence is deeply personal.
Magnolia says that she and many people she's known have suffered abuse throughout her life.
“I felt shame for most of my life and kept it all a secret until I found a voice and language through art,” says the local interdisciplinary artist. “The more I talked about these things, the more friends - especially other women - came to me in confidence telling me they had similar experiences.”
Knowing that art therapy can help survivors process thoughts, feelings and emotions in a productive way to assist the healing process, Magnolia is holding a series of free and open to the public art-based workshops she’s dubbed “No More Violence.” Her goal is to use community engagement to address issues of social justice through art therapy, art activism and eco-friendly street art.
She considers the workshops a means of support, a way to share stories and experiences, to let others know they aren’t alone and to raise awareness. The workshops are designed to be outlets and art therapy for survivors, so their safety and comfort are paramount. But Magnolia stresses that the workshops aren’t solely for survivors.
“Because sexual and domestic violence are so common, everyone knows multiple survivors whether they’re aware of it or not,” she explains. “This is an issue that affects all of us, so even those who may not be survivors are welcome to join in the conversation and express themselves or their shared frustration over a climate of violence.”
All artwork made during or inspired by the workshops will be displayed at Gallery 5 on June 2 as part of the First Friday Artwalk. The exhibit will be continually transformed as gallery visitors are encouraged to write poetry, stories and comments directly next to the artwork as an ongoing collaboration and conversation with the community.
“The more people who participate and share their stories, the more powerful the series will be,” Magnolia says about her motivation.
Here is a line-up of events over the next two weekends:
Mud Stenciling Against Sexual and Domestic Violence: Saturday, May 13, 2-5 p.m., Gallery 5
Mud stenciling is an eco-friendly from of street art using mud instead of spray paint. Magnolia encourages participants to bring an image combating sexual and/or domestic violence with which to create a stencil.
Art in Response to Violence: Saturday, May 20, 2-5 p.m., Gallery 5
Local art therapist and anti-violence activist, Carol Olson, leads an art therapy workshop for participants to create art as a response to the community about interpersonal violence. Supplies will be provided, but participants can bring their own as well.
Screen Printing Against Sexual Violence: Friday, May 26, 3-5 p.m., Studio Two Three
Participants are encouraged to bring a design combating sexual violence to print at this screen printing workshop open to beginners and experienced printers. The image should be no larger than 8 x 10" and can be saved on a USB drive as a jpg or PDF or printed on transparency film. The prints will be sold during the June 2 exhibit, with all proceeds donated to the James House, a Richmond organization that helps women affected by sexual and domestic violence and stalking.
“No More Violence” opens June 2 at Gallery 5, 200 W. Marshall St., gallery5arts.org