Women’s Wisdom Project Exhibit at Art Walk

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(Sacramento, CA)
Thursday, August 12, 2004
It’s Monday morning at the Sacramento Food Bank, and project director Luisa Williams greets a room of about 10 women, creating art with paint, fabric and beads. Good morning! How’s everybody? One of the women shows Williams a nearly completed beaded bracelet she’s making. It’s got candy jade on it and purple and green….oh that’s gorgeous… Another woman, Carol Bowser, is sanding a small gourd. This gourd is gonna be like a little candle holder. A long time ago my psychologist recommended that I come here. The Women’s Wisdom Project has been around for about 13-years. It started at Loaves and Fishes. Then about three years ago the Sacramento Food Bank picked it up. Peter BERG-hh-ice, the Food Bank’s executive director, says he’s seen some positive changes in the women who’ve participated. We have women who have been through some kind of a trauma in their lives. It could be anything from drugs to abuse. It could have been anything that they were into before that they want to get out of and move beyond and move into something a little bit better for themselves so they work with art and they work with their friends in there and we have professional artists that we hire to help these women and all of a sudden they become different people. Project director Williams says the program offers therapeutic benefits I think that, at times, the women were not able to verbally express what they felt, so the art form allows them to get those feelings out. Often times it’s negative. There’s not a lot of drawings about men. As I’ve talked to some of the women, I believe that some of the trauma may have been a result of an experience with men and they may not be ready at this point to deal with that and so they’re probably staying in the art form that brings them safety and comfort. Back in the art room, one of the women – Debra Lockhart – is painting a wooden board that’ll end up being the face of what she calls a grandmother clock. It’s a twist on the grandfather clocks. It’s a smaller box. I love painting on wood. It’s therapeutic, the environment here is awesome, it’s a place for people to just come and self expression. Cheryl Lee Taylor is sketching out an idea for a picture. She says she appreciates the supportive and positive atmosphere at the project. If I hadn’t had the Women’s Wisdom program then I don’t know where I would be, I wouldn’t have the slightest idea, I have a little bit of a problem with depression so this helps me to get out, to be with women who are in the same situations as myself. So this gives me the interaction with people that I need. BERH-gg-ice says the program helps put women in crisis back on track. A lot of the women here have good days and bad days and it’s a situation of where maybe they can’t hold a steady, full-time job, so therapists refer women to us that don’t have that consistency in their lives. Well, the consistency is to come here everyday, sit down with their friends and create art. Then there’s an end result that they sell their art and feel pretty darn good about it when they are able to have somebody buy it and actually hang the picture in their homes. It’s a good experience. The Women’s Wisdom Project art show will be held this weekend at Trinity Cathedral in midtown Sacramento. Steve Milne - KXJZ news.