Our view: A punch to the heart | SteamboatToday.com

Our view: A punch to the heart

The Jan. 28 feature story in the Steamboat Pilot & Today, entitled "Filling the Canvas," by reporter Audrey Dwyer, hit us like a punch in the heart, and figuratively knocked the wind out of us.

The story was conceived to bring to light the fact that some of our high school students  – the youngest adults among us – have been reluctant to share their stories of abuse. The story also brings to light how high school senior Diana Hernandez inspired her classmates to help her shine a light on those stories through the Nova Project. Hernandez recruited fellow students to portray abuse by creating art that conveys the emotional impacts on its victims.

Through these pieces of diverse art, we come to understand that helping victims of abuse begins with a painful conversation. And through their portrayal of abuse, the artists speak on behalf of the victims – for people who they know and care about.

As an example, high school sophomore Madeline Sabin's artwork, "Survive, Live, Endure," gives credit to survivors of abuse for doing just that.

"This is meant to show that even when silenced, either by the abuser or society, there is strength and perseverance in the act of merely surviving," Sabin told Dwyer. "The defiance of enduring what was done, what hurt and the utter strength that it takes to do so, was what I tried to convey."

The other pieces of art in the collection are equally sophisticated in their conceptualization, and the diversity of media the artists employed to portray the emotional trauma of abuse, makes the collection the much stronger.

Recommended Stories For You

Our takeaway from this remarkable level of initiative by a young adult is that it is essential that young women feel empowered to speak out on issues of abuse.

All of us can sift back through historic eras in American life and come to the conclusion that it is the young adults of our society who are the most effective agents for change. If we are to move beyond these cruel patterns of sexual, violent and emotional abuse, it is essential that the change be driven by members of the newest generation of American adults.

And if it is the artists whose talent can help to overcome the taboos and regrettable sense of shame that comes with abuse, theirs will be a powerful, healing contribution.

Former longtime Advocates Executive Director Diane Moore summed up the potential positive implications of the Nova Project.

"What these students have done on behalf of not just their peers, but for the community, is to offer an opportunity for parents to have some of these tough conversations, to check in with their kids at the dinner table," Moore said. "It's about raising awareness."

And we're grateful Hernandez and her artist peers had the courage and inspiration to do just that.

At issue: Art project helps young women in our community come to terms with issue of abuse

Our view: The healing power of art and passion of youth can help lead our society out of the darkness

Editorial Board
• Suzanne Schlicht, COO and publisher

• Lisa Schlichtman, editor

• Tom Ross, reporter

• Hannah Hoffman, community representative

• Bob Schneider, community representative

Contact the editorial board at 970-871-4221 or editor@SteamboatToday.com.