‘Threads Of Strength’ Exhibit Honors Domestic Violence Victims

An art exhibit weaved together by survivors of domestic violence and their advocates will be on display during a Threads of Strength: Tapestry of Survival event at the JBJ Soul Kitchen in Red Bank on October 18. (Photo courtesy 180 Turning Lives Around)

RED BANK – Good food and good art are about to come together for a very good cause.

This October marks the 30th anniversary of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, which evolved out of an October 1981 “Day of Unity” meant to connect advocates working nationwide to end violence against women and their children. At the same time, it mourned those who died as a result of domestic violence, and celebrated those who managed to survive.

The first Domestic Violence Awareness Month was observed six years later, in 1987.

On October 18, the nonprofit 180 Turning Lives Around, which provides services to individuals and families in Monmouth County who have suffered domestic violence and sexual assault, will showcase a meaningful art exhibit called Threads of Strength: Tapestry of Survival at the JBJ Soul Kitchen, 207 Monmouth Street.

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Amanda’s Easel Creative Arts Therapy Program is a yearly art project of 180 weaved together by survivors and advocates that represents the personal journeys each creator has gone through in their path toward healing. The project uses thread, fabric, string and other materials to show how life was pieced back together. Both survivors of domestic violence and their advocates work side-by-side to create strong bonds, weaving their stories of pain into strength and survival.

During the art therapy, as survivors gather around tables to cut, paint and tie together different pieces of fabric, they learn to feel they are no longer alone.

“Since 180 has embraced the opportunity to share survivor’s stories through art, we have seen hundreds of men, women, and children find inspiration and healing in the process of the art making,” said Cynthia Westendorf, Coordinator of Amanda’s Easel Creative Arts Program. “Producing and exhibiting the imagery that addresses surviving violence is often powerful and filled with raw emotion. It is my belief that these are the strong messages we need the public to see and hear about in order to eliminate domestic and sexual violence in our society.”

This is the 5th collaborative art exhibit between 180 Turning Lives Around and JBJ Soul Kitchen, which serves chef-made meals to customers in need through volunteer work, or to paying customers through donations.

For more information on 180 Turning Lives Around and their commitment to ending domestic and sexual violence in our community, visit 180nj.org.