Powerful art creates ‘Powerful Voices’

Published: Nov. 30, 2022 at 11:13 PM EST
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STAUNTON, Va. (WHSV) - Incredible talent met powerful stories on Wednesday night at the Powerful Voices: Stories of Survivors display in Staunton.

“They may see themselves as victims, it is always possible to become a survivor,” said New Direction Center’s Community Engagement Program Coordinator Joy Ingram.

New Direction is a local non-profit which serves survivors of domestic abuse and sexual assault in the Staunton, Augusta and Waynesboro region.

The organization teamed up with art students at James Madison University who were tasked with portraying the stories of survivors through photography. Those photos were then auctioned off with proceeds going back to New Direction Center.

Carolyn Colton was one of the student artists. She described the experience as “fulfilling and rewarding.”

”It was definitely a little heartbreaking to read the stories, but to be able to create art and then for it to go back to New Direction was really rewarding,” she said.

Her photo showed a woman sitting on a countertop holding roses. While the main colors of the photo are black and white, the red roses brought an intentional pop of color.

“A lot of the story is related to domestic violence and abuse,” she said. “I wanted to focus on the home. My picture has flowers and that’s the only thing that’s in color, so I wanted to focus on growing past and blooming as an individual.”

With emotion captured in each photo, there was plenty of room for interpretation.

“I see struggle,” Ingram said. “I see strength. I see resilience. I see people overcoming adversity. Basically, I see survivorship.”

Colton hoped that her piece would help survivors realize they are not alone.

“I want them to feel hope and to feel inspired and reassure them that people have been in similar situations and are in similar situations and that there’s help,” she said.

New Direction Center has a 24/7 hotline. The number is 540-886-6800.

Ingram said they are always available to help.