Making your community better starts with you.
It's an idea that artist Timothy Smith is hoping to convey at an event he is organizing to spread awareness about domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking in Adams County.
"We're trying to first and foremost build awareness within our own community," said Smith, 31, of Gettysburg. "This is here, and it really needs to stop."
Her Body is Not a Canvas is a silent art auction scheduled for noon to 10 p.m. April 2 at Reid's Winery and Cider House. Proceeds from the auction will benefit Gettysburg-based support group Survivors, Inc., which has been financially affected by Pennsylvania's budget crisis. The winery will donate 20 percent of its proceeds to the cause.
"We're building hopefully a stronger network of people, either survivors or just sympathizers, that can help out in the future," Smith said. "We're raising money to help people who have already been victimized and hopefully for prevention as well."
Smith recently attended one of Survivors Inc.'s events, a trivia night held at Garryowen Irish Pub. When he learned that the shelter had to turn people away because of a lack of state funding, he felt compelled to help.
"I just wanted to get involved in whichever way I could," he said. "I sort of had an idea that I wanted to do something with art and charity for a while. I thought, 'Why not this?' This is sort of the perfect time to do it, and it's a good cause."
Smith and a number of other local artists have submitted artwork for the auction, depicting the issues of domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking in various forms, such as acrylic paintings.
"Made by Fist," one of Smith's paintings, is an impressionistic piece he made by dipping his fist in paint and punching the canvas. Smith said it depicts "mindfulness with yourself, your body and what you're doing with it."
"The Bruise's Scar" shows a woman left to deal with the aftermath of abuse. Her face and body are covered in wounds.
"It's showing that even after the physical damage is done, underneath there is still emotional turmoil that survivors go through," Smith said.
Christina Turley, artist and a board member at Survivors, Inc., submitted "Object for Sale," a picture of a woman with a bar code on her body. It is meant to spotlight the issue of human trafficking.
"When you really look at the piece, it's no longer this beautiful woman but nothing more than an object that can be bought and sold," said Turley, 30, of Littlestown.
Turley appreciates the opportunity to put the issues of violence, abuse and assault in a way that is not typically seen.
"I firmly believe in being a part of bettering our community and really giving back," she said. "This is a subject I feel should be talked about and should be ended."
Esther Waybright, community education specialist at Survivors, Inc., said as of January, the shelter has had to turn away 308 people as a result of the budget crisis. The shelter has 28 beds and hosts 25 to 35 people in a week.
Survivors, Inc. also has a weekly support group and offers individual counseling, a 24-hour hotline and assistance with filing for protection from abuse orders.
"Last year we had 720 people who came for domestic violence services," she said. "We had 356 people who came for sexual assault services. Thirteen percent of those we provided services to were children."
The budget crisis has put all of those services in jeopardy. Fortunately, donors and local organizations have supported Survivors, Inc.
"Our community really has drawn around us throughout this budget crisis," Waybright said.
Her Body is Not a Canvas is the first of many events Survivors, Inc. is planning for April, which is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, Waybright said.
In addition to the art show, the event will include performances by poets and musicians beginning at 7 p.m.
Waybright is thrilled about the event and believes bringing so many unique perspectives and different art forms together will make for a moving experience.
"I'm hoping it builds a lot of awareness of this problem in our community, especially right now when everything is so politically charged," Smith said. "People need to realize that if you want to make your community better, it starts at the immediate level. It starts with yourself. Go out there and do something. Help someone else."
For more information about Survivors, Inc., visit enddvsa.org or call 717-334-0589.
If you go:
What: Her Body is Not a Canvas silent art auction and Survivors, Inc. benefit
When: Noon to 10 p.m., April 2
Where: Reid's Winery and Cider House, 400 Baltimore St., Gettysburg
For more information, call Survivors, Inc. at 717-334-0589.