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A powerful calligraphic fine art exhibit (30-50 pieces) using words of LGBT youth & the words of young people we've lost to suicide.

From Sally Penley, "Out of The Silence" Project Lead

Background:

This project was born in late January, 2012, when I attended a PFLAG-sponsored event in Olympia, WA.  The concert featured The Righteous Mothers and Steve Schalchlin, a New York-based singer/songwriter.  I was so moved by Steve’s lyrics about his own life experience, The Righteous Mother’s messages, the plight of gay youth and, more specifically, the issue of teen suicide, that I decided on the spot to figure out some way to help end this tragic epidemic.  What could I do to add my voice to this cause?  I knew I couldn’t be silent.

After the concert, I approached Steve and told him I’d like to put together an art exhibit featuring his lyrics and some meaningful quotes by gay youth, translated into powerful visual art.  He liked the idea and contacted me a few weeks later, suggesting that I meet with Gabi and Alec Clayton, parents of 17-year-old Bill Clayton who committed suicide after a gay bashing in 1995.  Gabi and Alec were very receptive, gave their blessing to the concept and offered to help guide the effort as we move forward.  

Project Description:

The “Out of The Silence” exhibit will be comprised of about 30 - 50 pieces of calligraphic fine art created by some of the world’s best calligraphers.  Content and inspiration for the art will be based on Steve Schalchlin’s song lyrics, impactful quotes by some of the young people we’ve lost to suicide, and quotes from other LGBT (lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender) youth.  All quotes will be attributable--no "anonymous."

Artists will be selected at the upcoming International Calligraphy Conference, which will take place in Portland, OR, in late June.  The art will be created during the remainder of 2012 and “Out of The Silence” will open in Olympia, WA, in early 2013. 

Purpose:

Support – Educate – Advocate.  Build awareness.  Move people to action!

The main purpose of the exhibit will be to deliver a message of hope—hope for a better future that celebrates diversity and equal rights for everyone, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity.  Some of the messages may seem negative on the surface, but the intention is to raise awareness about the issues of bullying, teen suicide and gay rights.  People leaving the exhibit should feel moved to action and want to continue the dialogue about the plight of these young people.

Additionally, the exhibit should send a clear message to LGBT youth that they are not alone.  When they see these messages, many of which probably reflect their own thoughts and feelings, they should feel a sense of hope and purpose.  They will see that they are part of a larger inclusive community and that they are accepted for who/what they are.  They will know someone cares.

Thus, the target audience for this exhibit is two-fold:  the general public, especially the “fence sitters” who haven’t been close enough to the issues to understand or be impacted by them; and the young LGBT population about whom the show is designed to support.

The Project Team:

Sally Penley:                   Overall Project Lead; www.sallypenley.com

Jaki Svaren:                    Calligraphy Sage; link to calligraphy network

Gabi & Alec Clayton:         Project Guides, links to local and national organizations; www.gabiclayton.com and www.alecclayton.com  

Steve Schalchlin:             Songwriter Extraordinaire; assistance with quote/lyrics selection; www.bonusround.com

Bill's Story:

And finally, here is the story of Bill Clayton, who took his life after a gay bashing at the age of 17, written by his mother, Gabi:  http://www.youth-guard.org/gabi/Bills_Story.html  It was Bill's story that brought us all together and inspired us to create this project.

Here's Steve Schalchlin playing "Gabi's Song," which he wrote as part of "New World Waking" and performed on John Lennon's Imagine piano.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_jpJ4IBit90

An added note:  If this project is fully funded and funding permits, the "Out of The Silence" exhibit may travel to other locations when it closes in Olympia.   

We would REALLY appreciate your help in kickstarting our project and making this show happen.  From our hearts---Gabi, Alec, Steve, Jaki and I thank you.

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    You will receive a postcard displaying some of the show's images, announcing the show opening. Postcard will be delivered to you via postal mail with a personal thank-you note from the "Out of The Silence" project team.

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    You will receive the $5 pledge reward PLUS a limited-edition poster of the "Out of The Silence" exhibit.

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    You will receive the $5 pledge reward PLUS the $25 pledge reward PLUS a catalog of the exhibit with artist information.

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    You will receive all of the above rewards PLUS you will receive an 11 x 14 limited-edition giclée print of the exhibit piece of your choice (selected from the catalog).

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