The “Survivor Art Quilts & Photography” exhibit, a collaboration between the Anton Art Center and Turning Point of Macomb, will feature 12 collaborative art quilts and 14 framed photography and writing pairings.

The “Survivor Art Quilts & Photography” exhibit, a collaboration between the Anton Art Center and Turning Point of Macomb, will feature 12 collaborative art quilts and 14 framed photography and writing pairings.

File photo by Erin Sanchez


Exhibit to feature art through survivors’ eyes

By: Julie Snyder | Mount Clemens - Clinton - Harrison Journal | Published July 19, 2019

 The “We Are Connected” quilt is one of 12 that will be on display at the “Survivor Art Quilts & Photography” exhibit that opens to the public at the Anton Art Center on Aug. 24. The exhibit is a collaboration between the art center and Turning Point of Macomb.

The “We Are Connected” quilt is one of 12 that will be on display at the “Survivor Art Quilts & Photography” exhibit that opens to the public at the Anton Art Center on Aug. 24. The exhibit is a collaboration between the art center and Turning Point of Macomb.

Photo provided by the Anton Art Center

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MOUNT CLEMENS — Apoignant collection of art slated to be on exhibit at the Anton Art Center next month will feature the works of local survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault.

The “Survivor Art Quilts & Photography” exhibit, which will open to the public Aug. 24, will feature 12 collaborative art quilts and 14 framed photography and writing pairings. The art is being presented by Turning Point of Macomb, a nonprofit organization that works to provide programs and resources to survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault.

“The idea for the partnership developed as Phil and I were discussing the impact of art as therapy,” said Turning Point Chief Development Officer Karan Bates-Gasior, referring to Phil Gilchrist, executive director of the Anton Art Center in Mount Clemens. “We agreed that an exhibit of our survivor art collection would be of interest, and decided to take the next step in sharing it with our community.”

Bates-Gasior said art can be used as an outlet for survivors to communicate, overcome stress, and sort through feelings and thoughts about trauma.

Described as “a vivid reflection of those affected by sexual violence,” the quilts feature messages shared by survivors at different stages of healing, ranging in levels of anger, depression and forgiveness.

Bates-Gasior said the tradition of the quilts began in the mid-1990s, when a dedicated group of women created “Jane Doe,” a figure of a woman dressed in white symbolizing the survivors who are either isolated from support or who did not survive sexual violence.

Each year, Turning Point hosts events to raise awareness and provide safe places for survivors to express themselves. The organization provides attendees with cloth swatches as an opportunity to write whatever sentiments they wish to share with “Jane Doe” by attaching them to the figure. The swatches are later used to create a quilt to share with the public.

“You will notice four different color swatches featured in each of the handcrafted quilt designs,” said Anton Art Center Exhibition Manager Stephanie Hazzard.

She said each color has particular significance: Yellow represents a message from a survivor of sexual violence, red for a survivor of child sexual assault, purple for a survivor of sexual assault as a hate crime, and blue for a significant other.

“These quilts are made with purpose and care, with individual details and handwritten messages that are best appreciated in person,” Hazzard said.

Some of the works have been on display at Turning Point’s office building in Mount Clemens, but this will be the first time that the work will be showcased together in a professional viewing space, alongside Turning Point’s youth survivor photography project.

The photography and writing pairings are the products of a youth survivor art therapy program offered by Turning Point. Led by a professional photographer, the students studied the principles and elements of art and were later given disposable cameras with instructions to create their own photographs. Once the film was developed, one photo was selected from the set to be accompanied with handwritten captions, which were matted and framed together.

The exhibit will open Saturday, Aug. 24, with a public reception to be held from 6 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 27, with refreshments sponsored by Gabe and Pat Anton and featuring a presentation by a member of Turning Point’s Survivor Speakers Bureau.

The Survivor Speakers Bureau is an opportunity for survivors or loved ones to share their experiences of abuse and healing with the community. Participants attend training to learn how sharing their stories can help create social change.

Symantha, a survivor of sexual assault and a Survivor Speaker, pointed out the hurtful social punishment after sexual assault, such as “spending hours answering questions about what I was wearing, if I flirted with my perpetrator, if I clearly said ‘no’ — all while I sat in a neck brace with a busted lip.”

Speakers share stories about their lives in an effort to help in their healing process, as well as to spread awareness in the community.

For more information about Turning Point, how to get help or to donate, visit turningpointmacomb.org or call (586) 463-4430. For immediate assistance, call Turning Point’s 24-hour crisis line at (586) 463-6990.

The Anton Art Center is located at 125 Macomb Place in Mount Clemens. For more information, visit theartcenter.org or call (586) 469-8666.

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