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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Sep 262011
 

When I launched the second Okey’s Promise project, I really debated about using the Kickstarter program a second time. It worked well for the first project, and it was trendy. But there were drawbacks. Kickstarter is all or nothing (you get nothing if you do not meet your goal), and they really constrain you to a time frame. There are also fees that cut into your actual proceeds.

I decided to go with it because the program is getting lots of buzz for its creativity. Unfortunately, it did not work so well the second time around. We didn’t meet the goal, so we got nothing.

I am not giving up, though.

Okey’s Promise is not just about me. Okey’s Promise is a movement that includes Promise Keepers from all over the world who have given their time and passion to the cause. It would be incredibly selfish for me to just give up and say, “Sorry, guys,” to all those who have been helping me get the word out.

So we are charging forward, and beginning a whole new fund raising campaign through ChipIn. I will honor the same rewards that I offered through the Kickstarter campaign with the ChipIn campaign. I have raised the goal and extended the time frame in the hopes that we can make it even grander.

Read the details about the Okey’s Promise: Celebrating the Human – Animal Bond project here.

Okey-White-gray-cat

Okey had many setbacks in her process of adjusting to life with four other cats and a human that she both feared and clung to for support. Nothing was easy for her, why should I expect it to be easy for me?

If you would like to contribute, you can use the widget in the right sidebar. If you can’t contribute funds, you can still be a Promise Keeper by helping get the word out. Please feel free to embed the widget on your own site, and please share the video.

Thanks for your support. It means more than you know.

BZTAT

 

Jan 232011
 
Dear Okey’s Promise Keepers:

Thanks to you, the first Okey’s Promise mural in Canton, OH will become a reality! We passed the goal this morning with 3 days to spare!

I cannot tell you how grateful I am to each and every person who pledged to the cause. Whatever the size of your pledge, you are each very special to me, as you have helped to make this crazy dream of mine come to fruition.

I started this project with the idea that I, artist BZTAT, wanted to paint a meaningful mural that somehow made a difference about a serious issue. Somewhere along the line, though, it became something different than that. As the number of backers grew, I began to realize that this is not just an artwork, it is a movement and a cause. I am just the artist. YOU are the passion and life of the project.

I will make a promise to you, and to my little Okey, to meet your passion and enthusiasm with as much creative fervor as I can. I promise to make this project worthy of your investment. I also promise to do everything I can to use the artwork as a catalyst for dialog and change in addressing pet abuse, child abuse and domestic violence. My hope is that you will share that dialog and work towards change in your communities as well.

Although we have met the goal, we can still use more funding for the project. The goal was intentionally set low to ensure that we made at least the minimal benchmark to proceed. Please continue to spread the word for both the awareness of the issues and for continued fund raising purposes.

As I do with all of my artwork, I invite you to join me “in the studio” as I proceed with the project. Please follow me on Twitter (@BZTAT), on Facebook and here at www.okeyspromise.com for my latest creative activity.

Thank you again from the bottom of my heart. You have all touched me very deeply with your support and compassion.

BZTAT

Wanna pledge your support to Okey’s Promise? Every little bit helps! Make your pledge here, and/or grab the widget to put on your website. Thanks for your support!