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I am a Monterey-based artist writing to share news that I believe would be of interest to Partisan readers. Six years ago when I was living in Ohio, I formed an anti-bullying organization with my childhood art teacher called the You Will Rise Project. It uses the arts to empower young people to speak out about bullying. I was bullied terribly as a child, and with the guidance of a caring mentor, art helped me cope. Today more than one in every five students report being bullied, and bullying victims are between two to nine times more likely to consider suicide than non-victims. Suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people.

In partnership with Open Ground Studios, we are bringing this project to Monterey with a community art installation celebrating diversity on Sept. 8 and an Art Against Bullying workshop series in October that is free for high school students. This project is transformative for young people who get involved. Applications for the workshop are due by Sept. 14 and can be found at artagainstbullying.com. Thank you!

The You Will Rise Project created a large installation at Cornell University made out of Post-It Notes, on which students wrote both positive and negative labels that they had been called. The result formed a series of portraits of students, which remained on display at Cornell. A similar project using puzzle pieces will be unveiled Sept. 8 at Open Ground Studios.

FALL 2017 PROGRAM SERIES & RELATED EVENTS
Pieced Together: Community Art Installation
Visiting Artist Mentors & Activists from Columbus Ohio
Face to Face Exhibition of Paintings by Paul Richmond
You Will Rise: Art Against Bullying Workshops
Sundays in October 1 – 22, 12-3
Pop-Up Exhibition: Art Against Bullying
October 29, 1-3pm

ART ACTIVISM COMES TO MONTEREY
Open Ground Studios and the You Will Rise Project join forces.

SERIES DESCRIPTIONS
Pieced Together is a collaborative community art installation in conjunction with the You Will Rise Project. Artists Paul Richmond, Aaron Anderson and Denese Sanders are creating a massive mural out of puzzle pieces that will form the faces of 3 diverse members of the community. We are inviting people from all over the community (at outreach events such as Seaside Community Fair and West End Celebration and invitations around town to share the project) to decorate a puzzle piece in a way that represents something unique about themselves. We’ll be working Monday, Sept. 4 – Thursday, Sept. 7 on the installation at Open Ground Studios and the community is invited to participate. The mural is part of Paul Richmond’s solo exhibition called Face to Face and will be unveiled at the artist reception Friday evening Sept. 8th from 5:30-7:30 pm.

Face to Face: An Exhibition of Paintings by Paul Richmond. Paul’s work is an investigation of identity, mythology, and human nature. Reality and abstraction compete within the figurative foundation of each piece to make the subjects’ inner struggles more tangible. He often draws upon personal history to approach universal themes. The expressive application of pigment reduces the literalness of the depiction, engaging with an exploration of color, form, shape, and pattern as windows into the psyche. By deconstructing and rebuilding the figure, his goal is to invite understandings that reach beyond the immediate surface and reveal the complexity of the individual.

You Will Rise: Art Against Bullying Workshops

You Will Rise Project is an organization founded in 2011 that empowers those who have experienced bullying to speak out creatively through the language, visual, and performing arts. During the month of October, we are inviting teens (grades 9-12) to participate in free workshops where they will work with professional artists and mentors to create raw, uncensored works about their experiences with bullying. The resulting collection, including collaborative installation pieces and individual creations, will be presented in a multi-media pop up exhibit at Open Ground Studios that is open to the public.

Visiting Artists from Ohio: Artists/mentors Aaron Anderson and Angela Wilson, and You Will Rise co-founder Linda Regula will be making their way to Monterey in support of launching the You Will Rise Project on the West Coast. Aaron is one of the Directors of the You Will Rise Project, and is a talented graphic designer and fine artist. Angela is the Operations Manager, and is an instructional designer and fine artist. Linda Regula is a fine artist, teacher, gallery owner, museum curator, and published author. She was Paul’s childhood art instructor, and their relationship, dating back to 1984, was the basis for creating You Will Rise. Linda and Paul were both bullied as kids. Linda attributes her experience of being bullied to the fact that she was “poor, skinny, motherless, and very shy.” Paul was bullied because he is gay. They both believe that these hardships served as powerful motivation to make choices that ultimately enriched their lives — and their art. We are planning opportunities in and around the Peninsula where these arts activists will be able to share their stories, their work and their passion to stand up against bullying.

TIMELINE & DATES

August 10 – August 27, Launch Pieced Together: Facebook live video, Seaside Community Fair, Youth Arts Collective, Boys & Girls Club, West End Celebration

Sept. 4-7: Pieced Together Installation at OGS with artists Paul Richmond, Denese Sanders and visiting artist Aaron Anderson
Installation participation open to the public: Monday Sept. 4 12:00-5:00, Tuesday Sept. 5. 2:00 – 7:00, Wednesday 12:00 – 5:00, Thursday 12:00-4:00

Sept. 8, 5:30-7:30, FACE to FACE opening reception and unveiling of Pieced Together

Sept. 23 & 24: Artist Open Studio Tour at Open Ground Studios – additional opportunities for community participation with Pieced Together installation, plus live painting demonstration by Paul Richmond

Oct. 1 – 22: Sundays 12:00-3:00 Art Against Bullying Workshops. Up to 15 participants, and 5 local and visiting artist mentors on-site.

Oct. 29: Sunday 1:00-3:00 Pop-Up Exhibition – Art Against Bullying

SPONSORS – This program is made possible in part by a grant from the Arts Council of Monterey County, the You Will Rise Project, Open Ground Studios and Paul Richmond. We are seeking additional sponsors to support and build this program on the West Coast. Those interested can contact Open Ground Studios to get involved.

ABOUT THE VENUE At Open Ground Studios we believe art plays a profound role in our human experience. As adults we are often consumed by the pace and responsibilities of our lives, while our creative spirits wait patiently to be revived.
We believe emerging and professional artists thrive in a collaborative and supportive community, where freedom for innovation, growth, and camaraderie is limitless. It is our responsibility as a society to invest in the arts to preserve and strengthen this aspect of our community and of ourselves. At Open Ground Studios we specialize in maintaining space for the exploration of visual art that inspires transformation.

Open Ground Studios is located in Seaside in a 2000SF space that that houses a gallery, communal studio space, coworking, a printmaking studio, and a frame room. OGS serves teens, adults, artists and creative explorers. We promote community entrée into creative productivity by hosting workshops, open studio time, classes, social events, and exhibition space.

For More Information:
Paul Richmond, Artist and You Will Rise Project co-founder
Tel: 614-306-0488
Email: paulrichmondstudio@gmail.com
Website: artagainstbullying.com
Instagram: @youwillriseproject
Facebook: facebook.com/youwillriseproject

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • bill leone August 30, 2017, 12:20 pm

    Paul, The Monterey community should applaud, welcome, & support your efforts to prevent bullying in
    our schools. As a psychotherapist I have encountered too many children & young adults whose lives have been adversely affected, if not cut short, by school bullying, from other students & a small number of emotionally unstable teachers. I will do whatever I can to support your project. In the past ten years I have referred a number of children & young adults to the Youth Art Collective with remarkable results.

  • jim guy August 30, 2017, 1:01 pm

    I was punched by a Big-8 football coach turned metal shop teacher for messing around in class while I was in junior high school. I guess that counts.
    I think the bar was higher then.

    • jim guy August 30, 2017, 1:09 pm

      Should say, coach and former offensive lineman.

  • Bill Hood August 30, 2017, 2:08 pm

    Wow, another Columbus, OH person worth listening to.

    • Jim guy August 30, 2017, 6:31 pm

      That’s Big 10, Bill.

      • Bill Hood August 30, 2017, 6:46 pm

        Columbus has become a relatively overlooked arts and cultural center. My wife and I love the Peninsula where we met, were married and love to come back to, but living in Big 10 territory ain’t so bad (I went to Purdue).

  • david fairhurst August 30, 2017, 2:43 pm

    Wishing you well in your project. But remember that bullies come in all colors of the “rainbow” (flag pun intended). It isn’t always as it may seem. Some people will look for reasons of why they were bullied and create comfortable and easy excuses of what happened (sort of a self victimization).
    I believe most “bullies” have personal social/ego/mental problem and the reasons why they “bully” have less to do with their victim than with their own personal issues. I would wager that the “victim” you mentioned being bullied because they were “gay” was an perhaps an excuse for the “bully” to release, vent or channel their anger and frustrations at some semi-random target.
    I have seen young people responding to being “bullied” by “standing up to that bully” then become the ones punished because of “zero tolerance” policies, leaving all confused and bewildered and in a sense and thereby empowering the “bully” even more so.
    I think much of the problem result from a lack of respect of others and their views. Really I do. When people who preached “co-exist” and “tolerance” then pick up bricks, make death threats and profane signage, preach hate then wave blooded cartoons of a beheaded President have lost the meaning of those words and have become bullies themselves.

  • Karl Pallastrini August 30, 2017, 7:36 pm

    I have quite a bit of experience dealing with bullies and bullying. As a principal at the Middle and then High school level for 30 years…I have an idea of what works. First…all students are entitled to a harassment free environment. California Compulsory Education Law requires all students to be in school until they reach the age of 18. What could be worse than mandating attendance, only to be harassed by peers who for one reason or the other have fun at the expense of others. There are several factors involved in problem solution. To begin, teachers need to be aware of what is happening in their classes. Who are the victims and who are the perpetrators? Teacher, along with all school staff have an obligation to report what they see to the school administration. THAT is the responsible party in regards to protecting the rights of all students to a harassment free environment. Accountability starts at the Principal’s office. In my experience, here is what works. Grade level assemblies need to be conducted in the first week of school. Seniors are given the message that they need to set an example of citizenship. Help the underclassman acclimate to the High School culture. The message to the Freshman Class is simplistic. Bullying is not tolerated in any form, or by anyone. Report it! Who is responsible for the message? The Principal. The Principal sets the tone, and makes it clear to all students that if you are engaging in any form of harassment of another student…you will be disciplined, including suspension or, possibly re-location from the High School campus to an alternative placement. Students need to know that the school Principal has an “attitude” about bullying. We actively looked for it. Responding in a timely manner is critical to supporting the message. Bullies were quickly identified, and not allowed to “operate” with the idea of making life miserable for those who were compelled to be there. All of this is the job of the staff and administration. School Administrators are responsible for protecting the rights of the 95% (+) students who are doing the right thing. A heavy hand is required in setting and enforcing behavioral expectations that will ensure that those who dread coming to school will be safe. The school also has an obligation to provide services to bullies, with the idea of getting at the root of their behavior. That is Job 2. Job 1 is enforcing a harassment free environment for all students.

  • bill leone August 31, 2017, 9:08 am

    Good points Karl.

    In addition, here are some facts about vulnerable, school-aged children:
    1. LGBTQ teens are Four Times more likely to commit suicide.
    2. Between 2007 & 2015 suicide rates for teens (15-19), especially boys, doubled.
    3. The leading causes are attributed to untreated mental health issues; specifically heavy social media use, Bullying, economic burdens, family issues & exposure to violence.
    4. In the face of ever-decreasing access to school counselors (less counselors in each school, more students per counselor, & counselors given more administrative duties Other than counseling students), the MPUSD is debating whether or not to spend more money on increasing the number of Law Enforcement Officers (SROs) in schools, rather than increasing the number of counselors.

    What can possibly go wrong!?

  • Jim guy September 1, 2017, 4:11 pm

    Wonder if discipline for repeat or violent bullies will amount to “restorative justice,” the current trend in the state. I remember when my daughter was the target of a bully, the principal forced her to sit down with the offender. Talk about punishing the victim twice.

  • bill leone September 2, 2017, 5:13 pm

    If that is All the principal did, s/he was an incompetent principal; the problem was not with restorative justice. Given the fact that “punishment,” has unpredictable results, especially with children, I would like to know the best way parents can deal with these problems (Karl has given us a good start).