’50 Shades of Brave’ Gallery Showcases Works by Students and the Center for Hope and Safety

Professor Patricia Keeton’s global communications senior capstone class teamed up with RamaPower, Active Minds and off-campus resource, the Center for Hope and Safety, to put on an art gallery titled “50 Shades of Brave.” The gallery was made up of work from Ramapo students and collections from the Center for Hope and Safety.

Students created their pieces during the event leading up to the gallery, “50 Shades of Brave Brush and Brunch,” where they took inspiration from the artwork of Jill Hellman. The other featured collections not done by Ramapo students were a series of masks created by children who came from domestic violence households, and an assortment of shoes meant to represent healing from abuse called “Baring Our Soles.”

“We formulated the plans, the logo, the names for the event all last semester during planning. We secured the Center for Hope and Safety as part of that planning and then executed all the events this semester,” said senior Emily Brawer.

The Center for Hope and Safety, formerly known as Shelter Our Sisters, can temporarily house up to 30 people, while concurrently offering music therapy for children, assistance in finding a job or home, English classes and counseling services.

Aside from the inspirational artwork, the gallery acted as a platform to spread awareness about domestic violence in society and at Ramapo. Jean Kirch, Director of Development and for the Center for Hope and Safety, spoke about this pressing issue and the function of the Center as a resource in the area.

“Eventually at some point [abuse] will become physical. Statistics show that it will escalate – once that starts it will end in death,” Kirch stated.

Following the speech by Kirch, Ramapo’s Director of the Center for Health and Counseling Services Judy Green informed attendees about the services offered at the College. According to a mandatory program submitted by current freshmen before their first semester, “901 students have experienced some form of abuse,” Green said.

Green expressed the importance of noting that domestic violence is a growing problem in the college age group and provided a wealth of statistics from Ramapo that supported that claim. The College is equipped for situations of abuse, with two counselors who live on campus available at all times to come to a student’s aid. These counselors also have information about stalking, sexual assault, warning signs, consent and the role of bystanders.

The gallery was the final installment in a series of events aimed to spread awareness about domestic violence in a campaign that brought outside parties to enlighten the Ramapo community on the importance of the issue.