As an abstract painter living and working in the heart of the vibrant Gallery Row District in Downtown Los Angeles, the goal of giving back to my community is always paramount for me. One non-profit I admire for their community outreach with a healing art concept is A Window Between Worlds (AWBW).
To commemorate 25 years of providing art therapy as a method for empowerment, AWBW is hosting an Anniversary Brunch on Sunday, September 25, 11am-2pm at Hotel Casa Del Mar in Santa Monica. Guests will enjoy an ocean-view buffet with cocktails and a silent auction that includes unique “Transformation Touchstones” created by over 80 artists in honor of the power of healing art to transform lives.
AWBW is using a Mobile silent auction app allowing you to bid on the transformation touchstones and other silent auction items starting NOW whether you attend the event or not. (Although of course it is going to be a lovely event and I encourage you to attend).
As part of our silent auction we will be featuring two-inch glass Transformation Touchstones created by artists who spark inspiration amongst those they reach. This community art initiative serves as an interactive catalyst for courage, strength and the possibility of change. By creating and sharing their Transformation Touchstones, the artists inspire and support others’ journeys — both those who see the art and the guest that takes the Touchstone home.
I created four unique transformation touchstones as my way of giving back to my community, all in my signature abstract art style. My touchstone art work is inspired by my recent Flow Series, which has evolved into variations on globes. My discovery and experimentation with high-flow paint has led to some amazing new techniques. Flow is about letting go, trusting and going with the flow of life. Creating art is transformative for me, and healing art can help so many, which is why I am happy to be part of this collaborative art event. At one time in my life I was very depressed and felt lost, until I returned to painting. I truly feel that the art therapy healed me in many ways. Now, it is very comforting to me that there is an organization like this that is helping so many people. I am honored to be taking part in this fundraiser and hope in some small way my art contributes to their success.
At the event, Los Angeles-based artist Cathy Salser will be honored with a Creative Vision Award. In 1991 she spent the summer facilitating art workshops to promote healing at domestic violence shelters across the country. Upon returning to Los Angeles, Salser collaborated with staff at the Sojourn shelter in Santa Monica to provide weekly art sessions for their residents, launching AWBW.
The organization has since become a portal for safety, self-expression and connection for over 182,000 women, men and children through a network of transformative arts programs at more than 350 locations nationwide, where art as a healing tool is not otherwise accessible or affordable. Reflecting on the 25-year journey, Salser says, “The fact that today, this window of transformation lives in the hands and hearts of tens of thousands is incredibly humbling.”
In the last few years, AWBW has expanded beyond its foundation in domestic violence to address the multiple ways trauma and violence occur and overlap in people’s lives. Philanthropist and advocate Bill Resnick has been instrumental in this expansion on multiple levels, and will be the recipient of the Community Impact Award at the brunch. Without his support and encouragement, AWBW would be unable to fulfill the ever-growing needs of its partnering agencies.
AWBW has also worked to bring awareness to the anti-violence movement through exhibitions and community art initiatives. This aspect of the organization dates back to 1994, when Salser exhibited portraits of survivors at the request of then-Senator Biden and Senator Wellstone in support of their Violence Against Women Act. According to Wellstone, this exhibition allowed for “a window of understanding into the strength and hopes of battered women nationwide.”
Author Mallika Chopra has recently worked closely with AWBW to provide a platform for survivors and community members to share their experiences and goals through the Touchstones project. Chopra has provided profound inspiration and will be acknowledged with a Compassionate Witness Award.
Tickets are available at awbw.org/brunch. Event sponsors include NBC/Universal, Google, Health-ade Kombucha, and Tito’s Handmade Vodka.