By BECKY KISER
A Fort Hays State University Leadership 310 team called “Express Love Over Violence” is collaborating with Hays-based “Jana’s Campaign” in an exhibit that will be featured during next month’s Hays Arts Council Spring Art Walk.
Team members Jessie Carmichael, Matthew Eikelberger, Adara Erickson, Noël Servais Leach, Taylor Hanus and Rebecca Stegman are currently doing their Fieldwork in Leadership with Dr. Christie Brungardt.
Twenty-five year old Jana Mackey, Brungardt’s daughter, was killed by her ex-boyfriend in Lawrence in 2008. Jana’s Campaign, now a national effort, was created by Christie and Dr. Curt Brungardt, Jana’s stepfather, as an education and violence prevention organization with the single mission of reducing gender and relationship violence.
The Express Love Over Violence art event will be in the Hays Community Theater, 116 E. 11th Street, on Friday, April 29 from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.
“Our mission is to align with the goals of Jana’s Campaign, working to raise awareness and educate our community on the topic of dating and relationship violence,” said Stegman in a news release.
She talked about the incidence of such violence in the United States, with statistics compiled by Jana’s Campaign and the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NACDV).
“Domestic and relationship violence is a major issue in the United States. Statistics show that 70 percent of all women, and 30 percent of all men will experience violence in their lifetime (janascampaign.org). In the U.S., an average of 20 people are physically abused by intimate partners every minute (ncadv.org). These acts of violence not only impact the victims, but also their employers, families, and sometimes pets.
The group is soliciting artwork from area high schools and other FHSU students that will be featured in their exhibit.
“As of now, we have four high schools participating: Hays, Ellis, Palco and LaCrosse. There were no limits put on the students; all we asked is that they reflect what they think domestic violence is to them through their art work–anything from paintings, drawings, poems, creative writing, and forensics, to music.
“Before the students started on their art pieces, the teachers were given the option to either have Dr. Brungardt come and speak with the class to tell them what domestic violence is or watch a video that we sent them about domestic and relationship violence.
“We are excited to see how they express themselves through their artwork,” Stegman said.
“We will also have some Namibian art work that was donated to Jana’s Campaign at the exhibit. You can see a sneak peek on our Facebook page “Express Love Over Violence.”
The Leadership team is also sponsoring “Purple Friday” on April 29.
“We ask the students at Fort Hays State University and the people of the community to wear purple to show support and raise awareness of domestic and relationship violence,” Stegman added.
Previewing the HAC art walk exhibit is an on-campus event tomorrow, Thu., March 31,
“We are having an ‘Expression Booth’ in the Memorial Union for students or anyone interested to come channel their inner artist, and make their mark against dating/relationship violence.”
Stegman encouraged people to “join our campaign by expressing love over violence on our expression banner. We’ll provide the paints, pencils, and pastels. You bring the passion.”