Meeting hopes to gauge interest, build momentum for first of its kind event in Steamboat

The Art of Survival is an idea Graham Hackett believes is a perfect fit for Steamboat Springs.

“I think it’s got a lot of potential,” said Hackett, who’s coordinating the Art of Survival. “We want to start putting the message from Better Tomorrow about violence prevention in nontraditional spaces, so that it stands out more.”

Hackett is hoping to get a better idea of just how big Art of Survival can be at an interest meeting from 5:30-7 p.m. June 28 at Oehme Graphics, 2655 Copper Ridge Circle, Unit 1. The meeting is for artists, survivors and others who wish to participate in this year’s Art of Survival project.

The idea behind the Art of Survival is to encourage local artists to create art connected to the theme “Honoring Survivors” and then have them submit those pieces to the project by Sept. 1.

Hackett said the project will benefit Advocates of Routt County, an organization that confronts the issues of sexual assault, relationship abuse and human trafficking in Northwest Colorado. Advocates, along with Comma and Brighter World Child Advocacy Center, falls under the umbrella of a Brighter World, which is also the fiscal for Yampa Valley Pride.  

Hackett, who is organizing the Art of Survival projects and works as the program director for Comma, has collaborated with local artists Sue Oehme, Dagney McKinley and Jennifer Grathwohl to coordinate this first of its kind event in Routt County.

“The Art of Survival plans to set up a single easel at a wide array of locations all over Routt County,” Hackett said. “We’re going to set up an easel outside of where Steamboat Springs City Council meets (and) Lyon’s Drug. We’re going to set up an easel, hopefully, at the library and, hopefully, in all the galleries, and featuring a piece of art honoring survivors of relationship abuse.”

Hackett said the submissions will not be limited to professional artists, and submissions from survivors are also encouraged. A formal curation panel is being formed to evaluate the art and select pieces to be displayed on easels at various locations around town through October, which is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Hackett said only selected art will be featured on the easels, but that the project will gather and displaying all contributions at Advocates’ 40th Anniversary Celebration & Art Auction, which will take place at the Steamboat Grand on Oct. 21.

“All of the art will be at the final event, even if it’s not featured at destination location in October,” Hackett said. “We’re even trying to get art from survivors. Not all artists need to be professionals if they want to contribute.”

Hackett said the meeting at the end of the month will go a long way in determining what the Art of Survival will look like this fall.  

“What this looks likes depends on the interest meeting and how much interest we can drum up,” Hackett said. “Hopefully, the number of interested host venues will line up with several interested artists. I would love for no less than 30, but if it ended up being 100 — let’s go and make a real spectacle out of this thing.”

After that the project will move forward, and Hackett hopes the Art of Survival will be able to reach out and deliver its message to a wider part of the Steamboat Springs community.

“I’ve got these three amazing artists and they’re going to leverage their networks,” Hackett said. “Hopefully, the galleries are going to put it out to their networks, and honestly, whoever wants to get involved as a host venue — we really want to diversify that. We want to put these easels in a lot of unexpected, various places, and we really want this to be a community building endeavor, an endeavor where the community comes together around this issue, to make a difference and start reducing the rates of violence, and making it visible that our community does not accept relationship violence as a given.”

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