May 022013
 
Painting of a white and gray by Artist BZTAT

Painting by Artist BZTAT

The artwork for the Okey’s Promise: Celebrating the Human – Animal Bond Project has been complete for some time now, but we were waiting for the right time to begin sharing it with the public.

I have been working with the Domestic Violence Project, Inc. to plan some events in conjunction with their 35th Anniversary year celebrations, and we are looking forward to making a strong impact on the community.

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Our first event will be tomorrow, May 3, 2013 during the First Friday celebrations in downtown Canton, OH’s Arts District. We are also planning exhibits at the Massillon Museum, Malone University, and other locations throughout the Stark County Community. Stay tuned!

If you are in Canton tomorrow, I hope you will join us. The weather is predicted to be fabulous! Here are the particulars:

Okey’s Promise: Celebrating the Human – Animal Bond

First Friday Event

An artistic celebration of animal rescue volunteers and domestic violence advocates coming together for mutual benefit of the community.

Pit Bull dog painting collage by Artist BZTAT

Painting by BZTAT

Time: 6:00pm until 9:00pm
Location: At the “Safe Animals Safe Kids” mural, hanging on the side of the Imperial Room at 4th St. NW and Court Ave. in Downtown Canton.

Artist BZTAT will exhibit her latest Okey’s Promise public art project, an exhibit of 9 artworks highlighting the connections between animal abuse, child abuse and domestic violence, with guests from the Domestic Violence Project, Inc. and local animal rescue groups. The artworks are positive and uplifting, showing the faces of children and companion pets who have triumphed over adversity. At risk youth and women affected by domestic violence contributed to the backgrounds of the artworks. The project was funded by a grant from ArtsInStark and private donations through crowdfunding efforts.

Painting of a young girl by Artist BZTAT

Painting by BZTAT

Rescue groups include: Peace for Pets, Friends of Stark Pound, Second Chance for Animals, Rose’s Rescue, and others. Pets available for adoption will be present!

Want to know more about the Okey’s Promise: Celebrating the Human – Animal Bond Project? Read more here, and watch the video below that was created for the fundraising campaign.

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Nov 282012
 
Okey's Promise: Art for a Cause public art mural sketch by BZTAT

Okey’s Promise mural sketch by BZTAT

I spent 20 years working as a professional clinical counselor. In that time, I met a number of children who had been abused or exposed to domestic violence. The trauma was profound and the emotional effects were deep for these children.

Most of these children are now adults. Some have recovered from their painful experiences and have gone on to be successful in their endeavors. Others still struggle, but are working towards recovery.

And there are a few who have ended up in prison for violent crimes. That is the reality of recovery – some do not get to the place where we want them to be.

I met up with a young woman recently with whom I had worked towards a healing journey from her painful history. This young woman continues to struggle. She has a support network that stands by her, though, and a family that she has accrued through the years. She knows how important that is to her.

I had not seen her in probably 5 years. The reunion was emotional for both of us.

I was completely disarmed by her genuine gratitude for my past efforts on her behalf. As a child, she had many moments of reacting angrily against me, so I was surprised that she had recognized that I was helping her. One by one, she recounted incidents where I had stood by her despite her ingratitude at the time.

And she thanked me.

Not just for standing by her, but for understanding her pain.

This young lady loved animals, but when she experienced her emotional torment, that love turned to hate. She did not understand why, and she hated herself for it, but when her pain became too great, she attempted to harm the very pets whom she loved.

Luckily, she had foster parents and a treatment team that understood this. Plans were in place to protect the child and the animals from the dangers of her pain.

As we walked down memory lane recalling this, she was profuse in her gratitude about my help in keeping her from hurting the animals who were her best friends.

Anthropologist Margaret Mead has said, “One of the most dangerous things that can happen to a child is to kill or torture an animal and get away with it.” My young friend told me in so many words that she believed it to be true.

She rekindled my belief in the necessity of educating the public about this important issue.

Okey’s Promise is not just about animals. It is not just about children. It is not just about abuse and domestic violence.

Okey’s Promise is about bringing widespread awareness to the connections of animal abuse, child abuse and domestic violence through public art, so that we can help animals AND people be safe in our world.

I cannot do it alone. Will you help me?

My young friend, and many others out there deeply appreciate your understanding and willingness to share it with the world.

BZTAT

Please support the latest Okey’s Promise project. Become an Okey’s Promise Keeper today!

donate to Okey's Promise: Art for a Cause

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Jul 242012
 
Okey White Cat drawing by BZTAT

I am still working on the “Okey’s Promise: Celebrating the Human – Animal Bond” project, and plan to finish in October. After that project is completed, I want to be ready to start immediately on the next project!

In order to do that, I need to start the fund raising for the project now. So, drum roll…

The new project is now launched!

With this project, I plan to focus on the needs of homeless pets who often fall victim to abuse and neglect in our communities. Rather than focus on the ugliness of abuse and neglect, however, the art, as is my style, will focus on hopeful outcomes.

This is my 3rd Okey’s Promise Project (see the other 2 projects here), and it promises to be the most creative yet! I plan to creatively transform the facade of a building with images of cats and dogs, and possibly some other companion animals.

I intend to take a nondescript building in the hub of a town in Ohio (to be revealed later) and turn it into a creative masterpiece that opens eyes, hearts and minds.

I will create murals on wood that will be attached to the exterior of the building.  A business owner has agreed to allow me to use her building as a canvas, and she is very excited to have the next Okey’s Promise project grace her property!

The exact location of the property will be revealed after all the logistics and official schtuff that is required is complete. It is in the business district of a city in Ohio. The property owner is a very committed arts and animal enthusiast and will be a very solid partner for the project.

Funding for the project 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 goal may seem large, but it is very costly to create public art.

All money raised will go towards supplies for the project, studio rent, utilities and other expenses, and a small salary to compensate me as the artist for my work. This will be my “job” during the time I work on the project, and I will need to be compensated so that my needs and my pets’ needs are not neglected.

Would you like to participate in the Okey’s Promise: Art for a Cause movement? Would you like to be one of Okey’s Promise Keepers?

Previous projects have all been crowd-funded with some grant assistance. We hope that you will join this project and be a part of the movement. You can contribute here or you can go to the fund raising page.

Thanks for your support!

BZTAT

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Apr 092012
 
Asian boy painting

Painting by BZTAT

The first painting for the Okey’s Promise: Celebrating the Human Animal Bond project is complete! This is the first painting in the series, based on a photo of a young man named Isaac who lives in Rochester, NY (We will get a better photo of the painting soon).

The background contains images created by students at 2 local schools who are participating in the project through the Domestic Violence Project, Inc. (DVPI). I met with the students along with a therapist from DVPI, and we talked with them about the importance of treating animals in a humane manner. We also talked about how animal abuse and domestic violence are linked, and encouraged them to share their own experiences.

Asian boy painting close-up

I was encouraged to hear many of these students sharing how their animals were spayed and neutered and otherwise well tended. Some shared of loss of a pet. One shared that he had difficulty understanding boundaries with a pet, leaving him with frequent scratches on his arms. He seemed to gain new understanding from our discussion. His teacher was hopeful.

Okey's Promise Gallery installationThe project will include a series of 10-12 professional artworks (approx. 48” H x 32” W each) that relate to the links between animal abuse, domestic violence and child abuse. These artworks will become a traveling exhibit that will be used locally by the DomesticViolence Project, Inc. (DVPI) and other interested agencies at events and other designated activities to raise awareness about the issues of domestic violence and pet abuse.

My hope is that the project will travel nationwide. If you are interested in having it visit your city, contact me.

Each face depicted in the exhibit will represent the outcome that we seek – safe, happy children and animals – with the backgrounds depicting the artwork of youth on the issues of animal abuse and domestic violence.

Follow posts here to see the project develop!

BZTAT

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