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A public art project  to create awareness about the connections between animal maltreatment, child abuse and domestic violence.
A public art project to create awareness about the connections between animal maltreatment, child abuse and domestic violence.
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85 backers pledged $5,133 to help bring this project to life.

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Although this project has met the funding goal, additional pledges are still welcome. We intentionally set the goal low to assure that it would be met. Please consider pledging additional monies to ensure that this project is funded to its full capacity. Thank you!

Project: Create a large mural to hang on the exterior of a building in the Canton, OH Arts District. The mural will have a focus of raising awareness about the connections between animal maltreatment, child abuse and domestic violence. The mural image will have a positive focus, featuring a child with a dog and a cat, serving to remind us of the riches we have in helping those who are most vulnerable in society.

Process: I will paint the mural on MDO Board (recommended for outdoor murals) with exterior mural paint in the studio. When completed, the mural will be attached to the exterior of a building in a prominent place in the Canton, OH Arts District. I will work with Arts in Stark (County Arts Council) and the Canton Development Partnership to meet all local requirements for public art.

Funding Needs: Funding is needed to assist with the purchase of art materials, studio rent, costs of hanging the mural, and creative time spent painting the mural. The funding goal is a minimum, however, additional funding is welcome to assist with other costs that will inevitably arise in the process.

Explanation:

Although I specialize in painting animals, a subject that would seem to be somewhat separate from most social conscience types of art, I am amazed at how pet-themed artworks can have a healing affect on people. More and more, people have come to rely on their pets for balance and connection in their worlds, and artwork that symbolizes that connection can be very powerful.

As a mental health counselor in addition to being an artist, I have been a strong advocate for the needs of children for over 19 years. Over the past couple of years, I have also become more deeply connected with people who are doing great work with animal charities to deal with the inhumanity perpetrated on innocent creatures in our society.

It is one thing to care about animals and to have compassion for creatures who are lost in our human world. Yet there are those who would suggest that we should worry more about other social ills first. An editorial in my local paper went so far as to decry animal rescue volunteers who give of themselves, implying that childhood poverty was a more important concern to address.

But here is the reality. When animals are suffering in society, children are too. When there is violence to animals, there is likely violence to children and others who may be defenseless. Where there is poverty, there is an abundance of unwanted pets due to animals not being spayed and neutered.

Truth be told, child welfare programs grew out of the efforts of animal rescue organizations who were seeing children in deplorable conditions when they were rescuing endangered pets.

The issue of pet abuse and abandonment is deeply connected to the issue of child abuse and domestic violence. Both issues need to be addressed together, not one in isolation of each other. I have a whole contingent of advocates for women and children who will back me up on this.

I want to make my local community, as well as the broader global community with whom I connect, to realize that we must treat our animals well, in addition to addressing the needs of children and others in need in the community. Yet merely sharing the facts doesn't seem to get the point across.

Creating artwork that is highly visible to the community has a greater chance of connecting the dots for people. It is easy to ignore a fact sheet, but hard to dismiss a powerful public artwork that reaches out to you each day as you drive by it.

My hope is that this mural will become a point of departure for a local dialog about the combined issues of animal maltreatment, child abuse and domestic violence. I also hope that the local efforts can lead to a dialog in the broader community through a website and blog dedicated to the issue: http://okeyspromise.com/ and other avenues. I plan to create other murals in other cities in the future to continue the effort nationwide.

Will you help me get the dialog started?

Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    Pledge $1 or more and receive a special thank you note from BZTAT and Okey!

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    20 backers
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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Pledge $25 or more and receive a commemorative bookmark and a personal invitation to the dedication of the of the mural, likely to be held in Canton, OH in 2011.

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    13 backers
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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Pledge $50 or more and receive a signed print by artist BZTAT, a commemorative bookmark and a personal invitation to the dedication of the of the mural, likely to be held in Canton, OH in 2011.

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    11 backers
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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Pledge $100 or more and be listed as one of "Okey's Angels" at http://okeyspromise.com; receive a signed print by artist BZTAT; receive a commemorative bookmark; and receive a personal invitation to the dedication of the of the mural, likely to be held in Canton, OH in 2011.

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    10 backers
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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    Pledge $500 or more and be listed as a sponsor on signage accompanying the mural; be listed as one of "Okey's Angels" at http://okeyspromise.com; receive a signed print by artist BZTAT; receive a commemorative bookmark; and receive a personal invitation to the dedication of the of the mural, likely to be held in Canton, OH in 2011.

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    4 backers
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Funding period

- (30 days)