Artists Rise Above Bullying in Ford City

art-14

The Ford City Library hosted a reception for their “Art Against Bullying” project Saturday evening.

This event was the final part of their three-day workshops to help bullied children express themselves creatively through art in a variety of forms.  One of the library assistants, Tiffany Harkleroad, helped explain about some of the different pieces of artwork.

“One of the group projects that we did is this piece over here that’s all these different puzzle pieces sort of glued on the page and paint splattered everywhere,” Harkleroad explained.  “And sort of the theme of that is that when you’re bullied, you are made to feel like you never fit into the bigger picture.”

The children also made different paintings, sketches, poems, and sculptures to express how they felt being bullied.  They also made some pieces to highlight the effects of cyber bullying, such as the Devil Computer, and a table display of cyber bullying.

Aaron Cooper and Dylan Toy saw the signs about the program at the library and decided to join.  Aaron made a painting about the first time he was bullied, which happened on the bus.  He also made the “Bully Mobile,” a mobile sculpture on casters.  They also learned some important things there.

“Bullying is nothing to joke around about,” Cooper said.

“No, it’s not,” added Toy.  “It’s really big, and it happens to a lot of people.”

The local effort was a part of the ‘You Will Rise’ Project -a group designed to help spread awareness about the effects of bullying.

Co-founders Paul Richmond and Linda Regula both attended Saturday’s reception.

Regula is an artist living in Ohio.  She was born in West Virginia and was bullied horribly.  Her sister in Ohio took her in, and gave her a better home to live in.  She became the first of her family to graduate high school.

“When I did, I made up my mind to mentor children who were bullied,” Regula said.

This is how she met Paul Richmond, the other co-founder and brother-in-law to Harkleroad.

“I was bullied really badly in school,” Richmond explained.  “And so Linda taught me to use art as a way to kind of deal with that.”

The group started as a web site three years ago.  It was to help young people understand that they have a voice, and give them an outlet for that voice.

“People from all over the world send us work,” Richmond said.  “People of all ages, all experience levels.  We’re not concerned about how great an artist you are; it’s what you have to say.”

He also added that they started these workshops as a way of directly helping the kids learn how to express themselves.  Regula also agrees that they truly benefit the children that attend.

“We’ll leave these kids, and they’ll remember us well into adulthood,” Regula said.

Harkleroad said that the artwork will remain hanging in the library for the next month for anyone that wants to see it.