Okey's Promise: Art for a Cause
Okey's Promise: Art for a Cause, named for a small rescued cat, is an initiative that brings awareness to an important social issue through creative, public art.
An avid pet lover, animal rescue advocate and child welfare advocate, Artist BZTAT uses her art to raise awareness to the connections between animal abuse, child abuse and domestic violence.
Some say that domestic violence and child abuse are more important concerns to address than the needs of animals. Here is the truth.
When animals are suffering in society, children are too. When there is violence to animals, there is likely violence to children and others who may be defenseless.
Through public art, BZTAT attempts to bring awareness to important concerns facing animals, children and other vulnerable persons. By moving people with prominent images in the community, she hopes to move people to action on behalf of those in need in their communities.
Creating artwork that is highly visible to the community has a greater chance of connecting the dots for people. It is easy to ignore a fact sheet, but hard to dismiss a powerful public artwork that moves your heart and soul.
With this project, BZTAT plans to focus on the needs of homeless animals who often fall victim to abuse and neglect in our communities. Rather than focus on the ugliness of abuse and neglect, however, the art will focus on hopeful outcomes.
"We tend to ignore the ugliness of what we think we cannot change. perhaps images of a hopeful outcome will inspire people to recognize that they can work towards change." ~ BZTAT
This is BZTAT's 3rd Okey's Promise Project (see the other 2 projects here), and it promises to be the most creative yet! BZTAT plans to creatively transform the facade of a building with cats and dog, and possibly some other companion animals.
BZTAT intends to take a nondescript building in the hub of a town in Ohio (to be revealed later) and turn it into a creative masterpiece that opens eyes, hearts and minds.
As with her other projects, BZTAT plans to create murals on wood that will be attached to the exterior of the building. A business owner has agreed to allow BZTAT to use her building as a canvas, and she is very excited to have the next Okey's Promise project grace her property!
The exact location of the property will be revealed after all the logistics and official schtuff that is required is complete. It is in the business district of a city in Ohio. The property owner is a very committed arts and animal enthusiast and will be a very solid partner for the project.
Funding for the project is needed to assist with the purchase of art materials, studio rent, costs of hanging the mural, and creative time spent painting the mural. The goal may seem large, but it is very costly to create public art.
“All money raised will go towards supplies for the project, studio rent, utilities and other expenses, and a small salary to compensate me as the artist for my work. This will be my “job” during the time I work on the project, and I will need to be compensated so that my needs and my pets’ needs are not neglected.” ~ BZTAT
Would you like to participate in the Okey's Promise: Art for a Cause movement? Would you like to be one of Okey's Promise Keepers?
Previous projects have all been crowd-funded with some grant assistance. We hope that you will join this project and be a part of the movement.
All contributions of any amount are welcome and all contributors can proudly claim to be an Okey's Promise Keeper! Contributions at the below levels earn special rewards:
Pledge $5,000 or more and receive a 16" X 20" commissioned pet portrait of one animal; receive a special mention in an ebook for the project; receive free ebook for the project; be listed as a sponsor on signage accompanying the mural; be listed as one of "Okey's Angels" at http://okeyspromise.com, and receive a commemorative bookmark and a personal thank you note from BZTAT and Okey.
Pledge $500 or more and receive a special mention in an ebook for the project; receive free ebook for the project; be listed as one of "Okey's Angels" at http://okeyspromise.com, and receive a
commemorative bookmark and a personal thank you note from BZTAT and Okey.
Pledge $100 or more and be listed as one of "Okey's Paw Pals" at http://okeyspromise.com, and receive a commemorative bookmark and a personal thank you note from BZTAT and Okey.
Pledge $50 or more and receive a commemorative bookmark and a personal thank you note from BZTAT and Okey.
Thank you for your support!
Finally, after long last, this project has been completed! As I mentioned in my last update, the project was scaled down since it did not come close to the original funding goal. Instead of creating an external mural to go on the outside of a building, I decided to make it a smaller piece that will go on the interior of a non-profit organization.
I also decided to make it a "Dialogues Mural", or a mural where community members are invited to participate in the creation of the artwork. This past weekend, I involved participants of the ArtsinStark SmArtSplash event in its creation. Children who came to the event helped me by creating drawings of their favorite pets, which I then glued into the background of the mural.
The drawings in the background create an effect reminiscent of graffiti, which was the intended concept from the beginning. It is a different look and a different approach for me, and it was a fun adventure to explore.
The mural will be donated to a Canton non-profit organization where it will be on permanent public view. My hope is that it will help to inspire and educate people about the necessity of keeping both children and animals safe in our world.
Thank you so much if you contributed to the campaign! Your donation helped me create a piece of art that helps keep the promise inspired by my rescue cat Okey - to ensure that animals and the people who love them have the opportunity to live safe and enriched lives.
This project has languished here for a long time, and I have decided to scale the project down since it did not come close to the original funding goal. Instead of creating an external mural to go on the outside of a building, I have decided to make it a smaller piece that will go on the interior of a non-profit organization.
I will be making this a "Dialogues Mural", and I will be involving participants of the ArtsinStark SmArtSplash event in its creation (March 1 from 10 a.m. "“ 3 p.m. at the Cultural Center for the Arts, 1001 Market Street North, in Canton). Please join us if you can!
I will be offering the piece for display to a great non-profit organization when it is complete. Stay tuned for more info about that!
As always, thank you for your support. I apologize for the time it has taken to complete the project, but I expect it to be grand when finished!
Please feel free to share the video as much as you would like. You can post it on your website or blog, too, if you are so inclined. You can get the embed code from YouTube here: http://youtu.be/34m8NAprKw0.
Thank you for helping keep Okey's Promise to make our world safer for children and creatures!
Most of these children are now adults. Some have recovered from their painful experiences and have gone on to be successful in their endeavors. Others still struggle, but are working towards recovery.
And there are a few who have ended up in prison for violent crimes. That is the reality of recovery - some do not get to the place where we want them to be.
I met up with a young woman recently with whom I had worked towards a healing journey from her painful history. This young woman continues to struggle. She has a support network that stands by her, though, and a family that she has accrued through the years. She knows how important that is to her.
I had not seen her in probably 5 years. The reunion was emotional for both of us.
I was completely disarmed by her genuine gratitude for my past efforts on her behalf. As a child, she had many moments of reacting angrily against me, so I was surprised that she had recognized that I was helping her. One by one, she recounted incidents where I had stood by her despite her ingratitude at the time.
And she thanked me.
Not just for standing by her, but for understanding her pain.
This young lady loved animals, but when she experienced her emotional torment, that love turned to hate. She did not understand why, and she hated herself for it, but when her pain became too great, she attempted to harm the very pets whom she loved.
Luckily, she had foster parents and a treatment team that understood this. Plans were in place to protect the child and the animals from the dangers of her pain.
As we walked down memory lane recalling this, she was profuse in her gratitude about my help in keeping her from hurting the animals who were her best friends.
Anthropologist Margaret Mead has said, "One of the most dangerous things that can happen to a child is to kill or torture an animal and get away with it." My young friend told me in so many words that she believed it to be true.
She rekindled my belief in the necessity of educating the public about this important issue.
Okey's Promise is not just about animals. It is not just about children. It is not just about abuse and domestic violence.
Okey's Promise is about bringing widespread awareness to the connections of animal abuse, child abuse and domestic violence through public art, so that we can help animals AND people be safe in our world.
I cannot do it alone. Will you help me?
My young friend, and many others out there deeply appreciate your understanding and willingness to share it with the world.