survivors art exhibit

survivors art hand-bill

Originally uploaded by jayfherron.

Last year my therapist introduced me to a hand-bill such as the one in the cover photo used today.
I have done several things in my life that I consider successful-leading my community to get our two mile stretch of road paved perhaps the most known,but in my mind the most special moment of any of my achievments was to be a part of this art exhibit.
There was one other time-but yet it was’nt even as thrilling as it to see several hundred people file by art that was created from my mind and imagination….I had scaffolded a suspension bridge in a state forest near here and the scaffold design (due to the difficulty hanging scaffold off of a bridge) was adapted by the Department of Interior to scaffold several bridges in National Forests across the country…the bridges(some 200 across the US) were all built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930’s by teenagers enlisted by the CCC and the timbers supporting the footwalk were all in need of repair.
I did not know this until I went a scaffolding engineering seminar at Purdue-Calumet University where an engineer teaching one of the courses,a designer from New Zealand,who happened across one of the bridge projects and adapted my design for a bridge in New Zealand. These are all suspension bridges providing walking access across rivers and gorges and very unique to add scaffolding to.

The Survivors Art Exhibit last year became the runner up to that acknowledgement and passed it by a long nose because of why it is an annual event and the prestige of the gallery it takes place in…the J.Wayne Rietz Union at the center of the University of Florida campus,and I can actually see the reactions of the vistors faces as the come across one work after the other.
One cannot really understand the thrill it is to have a piece of created by ones self to be seen and commented on-even complimented,because of all the hours you spent seeing come together in your own mind and the thoughts that arise as you work-the thoughts that make the work come to life…and the same thoughts your mind ponders what others might see and think,if they feel the same emotions as yourself when you paint.
This is especially true for my paintings and drawings because they are’nt pretty pictures of meadows and sunsets but pictures of survivors heart.
I was touched-very touched by the works of the other artists and I was given an honor shared with several other artists to have our paintings shown in the same exhibit as a nazi concentration camp survivor-a woman sent there alone- as a little girl…imagine the fear in that childs mind.
This exhibit became important to me in several ways. Because of my past-because of my life and how things went in my air space and as Ive told in these writings all along,I did not get to finish school and never went through that experience of being a part of a home room project or those kinds of extra things students did to make the extra points…I am only guessing,but the events I can remember wanting to be a part of and could not-so to be given a chance to have something I created and there is none other like anywhere else in the world shown in public like that in such a building on a university campus,and me never even graduating from a school. The honor of that was powerful to me because of the subject of the exhibit and why it is place-what is recognizes and how it serves other survivors like myself,its gives us something so huge I dont even know how to explain the emotion I have about it-but I am thankful for it and excited…its almost two weeks away.
If you are a survivor of a violent crime there is perhaps an opportunity to be involved in your area to show your art in a like exhibit… would be where I would go on the internet to find more about this.

Our exhibit is sponsered by The Sexual Battery Committee of The Gainesville Commision on the Status of Woman,Inc. and is co-sponsered by the University of Florida Counseling Center,all in Gainesville Florida.
I hope you will be interested in supporting survivors by coming and appreciating the talent and how it is used.

2 Responses to “survivors art exhibit”

  1. Mike E Says:

    I am absolutely proud of you dude.

    Fuckin A.

    On the off chance that I hit the big time between now & then I will be there. I am after all an aspiring professional journalist — and this is a great story.

  2. B.J. Says:

    All of the pictures and stories last year were very moving. I think one that really got to me was the one with the “Police, Do Not Cross” tapes drawn around the house with the little girl. I agreed to work at the Cop Squadron for a few months, and am counting the days till I return to the Official Military Mail Room. What’s sad is, you have to wonder what that girl’s impression of the police are after seeing her parents and their friends taken off in handcuffs. Does she see the law as friends who rescued her from a dangerous situation or as evil people who destroyed her home? Since I know the only movies you like to watch are those based on true stories, you might like “Gracie’s Choice”. It’s about a 17-year-old girl who adopts her siblings. One scene shows her mother and her mother’s friends being taken away in handcuffs by the police. Gracie could have gone down the same self-destructive path as her mother, but chose instead to finish school, get a job, get her own place, and legally adopt her younger half-siblings. Hmm…. who else do I know who chose to avoid a self-destructive path? Micah and Joel. They’re good examples of young people who chose their life paths, didn’t travel the self-destructive route, then blame their upbringing for their bad circumstances. Yep, I’m proud of my cousins. It’s too bad I couldn’t see the pictures this year. We’re driving to Florida in May to see Dianne. Hopefully, Chuck and I will be able drive out to see you, Joel and family, and maybe you can show us the pictures you did then. We may be going to Charleston first (if our friend isn’t deployed). At ya later, Uncle Jay.


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