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I can’t tell you how excited I was to be chosen for this project, and then again to be chosen to create an artwork for Mutual Ground, a domestic violence shelter and education non-profit. Dani Hollis, Executive Director of Water Street Studios, had an idea to have local artists collaborate with local non-profits to create awareness of their services in the community. This mural was created for Mutual Ground, funded by Batavia Woman’s Club, and hangs at Water Street Studios through a busy pedestrian walkway.

A Little About the Concept:

The ideas I talked about with Mutual Ground were going from isolation to community (isolation represented by the solitary house and community represented by the birds and butterflies) inspired by reading “Beth’s” story from their summer 2019 newsletter. Beth says “[Mutual Ground] was the best thing that has happened to me and my kids. I thought I was the only one, but I found out a lot of people go through this.” Mutual Ground talks about going from dark to light represented by a gradient in the background colors. The swallow is a symbol of hope, butterflies are a symbol of change and life. I put tears/raindrops coming from the closed blinds on the house windows. Purple is the color for domestic violence awareness so that color was included in the clouds and bird. Lace was included on the clouds and the on the bird to represent the behaviors that are passes down from generation to generation like grandma’s wedding dress or grandpa’s watch (some of the shapes on the feathers like hands on a watch). Cynthia Kieckhefer, of Batavia Woman’s Club, when I was donating a piece for this year’s auction, told me about an organization that helps people with the legal aspects of leaving their homes and marriages. Their symbol is a phoenix, which I love, as a symbol of rebirth and renewal. The swallow/phoenix rises out of the fire, aware and healed now, and transforms their life and the lives of their children. I hope this mural inspires people to get the help they need to break the cycle.

Mural illustration art for domestic violence awareness
“Soar”, 2019, Domestic Violence Awareness Mural for Mutual Ground

The art is also inspired by song lyrics by Brandi Carlile. Here are some of the lyrics:

I found myself an omen and I tattooed on a sign
I set my mind a wandering and I walk a broken line
You have a mind to keep me quiet
And although you can try,
Better men have hit their knees
And bigger men have died

I’m gonna raise, raise hell
There’s a story no one tells
You gotta raise, raise hell

The original art was created by painting paper and cutting it into shapes. I also use my own photography and/or public domain found images printed on archival paper. Other materials I use are archival tissue paper and acid free metallic papers. The original art will hang in the offices of Mutual Ground. The mural was created by scanning the original art then printing it on aluminum panel. (Thanks to Fast Color Print in North Aurora for the excellent work on the print!)

Press Release:

Here is a copy of the press release if you’d like to read more about the mural and this project: Batavia, IL—The kick-off of Water Street Studios’ Activate the Alley pARTnership project is here!
Mutual Ground will be the first organization to reveal their mural in a series of murals highlighting local non-profit organizations at a Mural Reveal party on Thursday, October 17th from 4:30-6:30pm at Water Street Studios. The Activate the Alley pARTnership project is in honor of Water Street Studios’ 10 Year Anniversary. Water Street Studios is pairing ten local artists with ten local nonprofit agencies to create outdoor, public art murals that illustrate the programs and services that the nonprofit offers to the community. These murals will be on display in the alley leading up to the entrance of Water Street Studios.

Mutual Ground has served our community for more than 40 years with the mission of providing education, awareness, and life-changing services that empower individuals, families, and com to end the cycle of domestic and sexual violence. October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month – the entire month of October is devoted to remembering those victims who have died, celebrating those who have survived, and connecting those who work to end violence. According to Kathy Melone, Advancement Director at Mutual Ground, “We are thrilled to partner with Water Street Studios to promote awareness of our mission and services, and add beauty to our community. We want to make sure that everyone that needs our services knows that we are here to help, everyday of the year, free of charge. This mural will be a beautiful addition to Batavia and remind victims and survivors of domestic violence that they are not alone, and there is hope.”

The mural design was created by Laura Lynne Art. Laura Lynne is a mixed media hand cut paper artist and muralist. She uses her photographs, metallic paper, and painted papers to create boldly colored, whimsical artworks. According to Laura Lynne, “A good design, or work of art, can help people to understand a subject more deeply. It has the power to make a strong emotional impact that stays in your memory longer than words alone. My goal was to achieve that with this art.”

The mural creation for Mutual Ground was generously sponsored by the Batavia Woman’s Club. “We are honored to financially support this wonderful fusion of our nonprofit community. Water Street Studios is a shining example of innovation as it merges art with crucial nonprofits like Mutual Ground. This breathtaking mural is not just an art installation, it is a stunning symbol of what we can create together. All our efforts are magnified when we can work together to address the very real needs of human beings in our community, from our artists and Water Street Studios that supports them, to Mutual Ground addressing the needs of women and children who suffer from domestic violence. This blend of community stewardship makes us so proud. The ladies of the Batavia Woman’s Club will find themselves turning down First and Water Streets much more frequently, as we slow down to look at this beautiful mural. We are happy to say we helped create it.”, says Cynthia Kieckhefer of the Batavia Woman’s Club.

You are invited to join us at the Reveal Party on Thursday, October 17th at 4:30 p.m. We will announce the reveal of the mural with a ribbon cutting ceremony with the Batavia, Geneva, and Aurora Chambers of Commerce, followed by a cocktail party in the Dempsey Family Gallery. In addition to her contribution as the artist on the mural, Laura Lynne will be donating 40% of the proceeds of any of her artwork sales at the Mural Reveal party to Mutual Ground.

This mural is one of ten murals that will be revealed between October 2019 and August 2020. “This project was created to elevate our nonprofit community in a way never done before. At Water Street Studios we understand that our greatest asset is our artist community and we want to utilize our best resources to help lift up our fellow nonprofits,” says Danielle Hollis, Executive Director at Water Street Studios.

Purchase a print here.

Thank you so much to Dani Hollis of Water Street Studios for dreaming up this project, Kathy Melone at Mutual Ground for being an excellent contact outthe creation of the original mixed media art for the mural, to Batavia Woman’s Club and The Community Foundation of the Fox River Valley for sponsoring this project. Thanks to Joe at Fast Color Print for creating the great reproduction of the original art and print for the mural.

Laura Lynne is a mixed media and mural artist based in Aurora, IL. She is best known for her whimsical and colorful designs. Follow Laura Lynne Art on Instagram or Facebook to see the newest work.

These artworks take a lot of time and love. If you like what you see, please consider becoming a patron.

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