No More Violence: A Community in Recovery and The Struggle for Safety

No More Violence: A Community In Recovery and The Struggle for Safety is an ongoing series of community-led artistic projects that utilizes art therapy, art activism, and eco-friendly street art to address sexual violence.

Facilitated by artist Malena Magnolia and taking place at The Bridge Progressive Arts Initiative between February and April 2015, this series engages the long history of sexual assault and rape within the community and at academic institutions, where perpetrators of sexual violence have faced little to no repercussions.During these months, we will hold safe-space discussions about the ways these events have affected the community and about what must be done to alter a culture of rape andviolence. Malena Magnolia will hold workshops on mud stenciling, an ephemeral street art process that uses mud from the ground rather than spray paint to apply stencils to the exterior of buildings. Anyone in the community is welcome to attend and to create their own stencils to combat sexual violence. Following the mud stencil workshops, we can work to take back our community and let our voices be heard by putting stencils out in public space.The opening exhibition for No More Violence: A Community In Recovery And The Struggle For Safety will take place at The Bridge PAI on April 3rd.  This mud stencil exhibition will showcase one cohesive mud stencil composed of the stencils made by the community, and on the opposing wall, another stencil tracing sexual assault back to the era of Thomas Jefferson. This series uses art to engage with history, to challenge the current system as it deals with sexual assault, to take back our community and public domain, to act as a vehicle of healing, and to give voices to survivors who will no longer be silenced.

About Malena and the Project
Malena Magnolia is an interdisciplinary, mixed media artist and eco-friendly street artist whose work explores issues of gender, sexuality, and social justice. In 2013, she graduated from Peck School of Arts at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee with a BFA in drawing and painting and with a sub-concentration in art history. While in Milwaukee, Magnolia was a grassroots activist and was involved in many different organizations related to art and social justice. She was also the Co-founder of the former Milwaukee based collective, Positive Body Project (PBP), was on the student committee for planning the 2013 Southern Graphics Conference, and was one of four selected finalists considered for the Charlottesville SOUP grant in Fall of 2013.

Issues surrounding gender-based violence have always been at the forefront of Magnolia’s work, whose family was fragmented by sexual violence. Since the artist now resides between Charlottesville and Richmond, the recent discussion and actions surrounding The University of Virginia’s mishandlings of sexual assault on campus became necessary to address. This project will act as a means to combine art therapy, art activism, street art, and community engagement in a way that is designed to empower survivors and allies alike in combatting sexual violence.