This is a letter we sent to Kristi Drake, event organzier for the March Against Drugs and Violence.
I just wanted to thank you for inviting Canvas Creek to be a part of this year’s March Against Drugs and Violence. The paintings we do open communication and help to give families and work teams pride. I was not quite sure what would happen when Kristi said “I have an idea…a box mural.” But I have to say, I am quite impressed. I felt we generated great interaction and most importantly, this story:
Two women worked together to paint “Love Should Not Hurt.” on a box. They worked diligently, quietly, and with a lot of concentration and effort. I could tell the project meant more to them than simply painting. When they were done, they stood back, embraced and wore gigantic smiles. I asked to take their picture and you could just see the pride and excitement pouring out of their faces. They stood tall, holding hands, and smiling. As I turned away, I could see their faces take a natural state and they just held hands, looking into their painting. We made small talk, they told me they lived in a program home, and then they walked away, after one last look at the painting.
However, it was not the last look. They came back together and separately, each more than once. They brought people back to see the painting and I saw them, from across the lawn, looking at what they had created. The painting seemed to define their day, and I wonder if it didn’t define their journey too. I was moved when these women took the stage and told their stories. Pain, addiction, growth. You know the story; there was an event filled with that story. Well, this is the part of the day that makes me cry. After they spoke, the women came back and stood, looking at their painting. They just stood there, looking, knowing the message, painted on simple cardboard, was their defining message. Soon family, or perhaps friends, came over and the women pointed out their addition to the mural. I saw a woman, who appeared to be mom, hug one of the painters and say, with tears flowing and her daughter tightly embraced, “I am so proud of you and I am so happy to have you back.”
It was just supposed to be a simple box mural, but it wasn’t, it was a whole journey.