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NOLA Rising and United For Peace Paint Party - 01/10/09

I just wanted to make folks aware of this event taking place next weekend. Willow and Feather are old friends of mine, and I've been to their house and seen the amazing artwork Willow has done to memorialize her son and work through her grief. It truly speaks to the transformative and therapeutic power of art, which is definitely one of the things NOLA Rising has tried to convey around our fair city post-Katrina. Read on for the details, and I'll see you there!

From NOLA Rising's blog:

"Heart of my heart, Love will never die." - "Willow"

Our friends at Silence is Violence have asked for a call to action to make the point that New Orleanians are tired of the inaction when it comes to making our city streets a safer place to enjoy. Here is NoLA Rising's response to Silence is Violence in their call to action: We are surrounded by violence and little seems to be happening to ensure public safety. There are many culprits in why this systemic failure continues to occur and while we'd like to point fingers at all of the particular leaders who day after day do nothing, it would get us no further. In the spirit of NoLA Rising, we plan to take action through art!

NoLA Rising is honored to announce a Paint Party at the house of Susan "Willow" Schroeder, who tragically lost her son to murder in 2001. To lift her out of her grief, she painted a work of love in dedication to her son David, making her home a beautiful expression of the love she felt for him. Sadly, Willow's tale is like so many other New Orleans crime tales, where no one has even been arrested in the shooting death of her son.

The tragedy doesn't end there, however. Willow and her partner Feather, have had to endure discrimination for all of the emotions that have been painted out. One neighbor has tried consistently to have the house cited and actively researches ways to fine them. Quoted in the Times-Picayune, the neighbor questioned: "Does a grieving mother have the right to deface public property because her son died?" because she painted the sidewalk immediately in front of her house. New Orleans is a city that welcomes unique forms of expression and NoLA Rising believes that this is a house worthy of such expression.

Long keeping in the philosophy that "Art can heal the wounded soul!", NoLA Rising sees the individual struggle of a loving mother a perfect place to host a paint party against the senseless acts of violence in New Orleans. It's a way to create something beautiful out of tragedy and I can think of no other way to voice opposition to the lackluster response of those responsible for maintaining public safety. We will also be joined by our friends at United For Peace who will also be creating artwork for a fundraiser to build a center for mothers and families of those lost to tragic violence.

United for Peace will have on hand 15 doors for people to paint their own vision of peace in New Orleans. One door will be given to Willow's family and the rest will be auctioned off at a benefit in March to help Mothers Hurting Because of Violence. Clothing will also be provided by United for Peace for painting and decoration.

Please, honor a fallen son and a fallen brother by joining NoLA Rising and United for Peace at David's House in the 3000 block of St. Peter around noon, Saturday, January 10th (2009) for a paint party. Bring your paints and prepare to make artwork that can proudly be displayed outside of homes across this city. Make artwork that inspires change! Let your voice be heard through artistic expression. Let the leaders of the city know that you will no longer tolerate the scourge of violence that plagues New Orleans. Paint the change you wish to see!

Following the paint party at David's House will be the after-event for the Dinerral Shavers Educational Fund. At Howling Wolf, there'll be a 9 p.m. concert featuring the Hot 8 Brass Band, Soul Rebels, Free Agent Brass Band, The Stooges and a number of other brass bands. Admission is only 10 dollars.

Times-Picayune article on David's House

WDSU coverage of David's House

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