A Window Between Worlds Celebrates 21 Years of Serving Survivors of Domestic Violence in Los Angeles, U.S.

LA-based national nonprofit has used art to help end domestic violence for 90,000 battered women and their children in crisis shelters, transitional homes and outreach centers across LA and the US

- Exhibition: "Pearls of Wisdom: End the Violence," UBM, Santa Monica, permanent display

- Post-Event: AWBW's heART gala, Lexus of Santa Monica, Santa Monica, October 6

Oct 23, 2012, 19:32 ET from A Window Between Worlds

VENICE, Calif., Oct. 23, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- A Window Between Worlds (AWBW), the only national nonprofit using art to help end domestic violence, is celebrating its 21st year of service to communities in Los Angeles and across the country. AWBW has experienced tremendous growth and is celebrating stepping into the next decade with new events and opportunities to get involved!

By providing an environment that promotes healing, AWBW's art workshops help women and children to develop a renewed sense of hope and possibility that profoundly impacts future decisions regarding the direction of their lives, their relationships, and how to stay safe.

The organization was founded on an unusual road trip taken by Cathy Salser, an idealistic emerging Los Angeles artist who wanted to share the power of art to connect with others. In 1991 she left her job as an art teacher and traveled from one domestic violence shelter to the next, living and making art with battered women and paying for gas and art supplies with portraits that she painted along the way. During the tour, she offered art workshops and training at 32 shelters in 18 states from California to Massachusetts.

Upon returning to Los Angeles, Salser partnered with a local domestic violence organization to pilot the first ongoing Windows Project to provide weekly art workshops at a shelter and launched A Window Between Worlds. Initial funding from the Peter Norton Family Foundation and the Los Angeles Women's Foundation enabled AWBW to expand the Windows Project to four additional shelters, and the program has grown exponentially.

Today, AWBW's programs have served more than 417,000 participants throughout the country (90,000 women and children each attending an average of 4-5 workshops during their shelter stays).  AWBW has expanded our services by 86% over the past three years within the Los Angeles area. In 2011 alone, AWBW:

  • Worked over 350 trained children's leaders and 380 trained women's leaders providing workshops in 209 domestic violence programs in 30 states
  • Provided over 9,100 art workshops for women and children in shelters
  • Trained 137 new leaders to facilitate art workshops for women and children
  • Reached more than 28,000 participants through the Women's Windows Program (6,300 women each participating in an average of 4-5 art workshops)
  • Reached more than 37,000 participants through Children's Windows Program (6,800 children participating in an average of 5-6 art sessions)
  • Began art programs at 45 new sites.

To meet the growing community need, the organization must raise funds to support the increase in demand for its programs. In celebration of its third decade providing healing and to meet its fundraising goal, AWBW is holding a number of special events this fall.

Exhibition "Pearls of Wisdom: End the Violence," on permanent display at United Business Media office in Santa Monica

This exhibition tackles the critical social issue of domestic violence as conceived by renowned artist Kim Abeles and is the result of a community art-making process by which survivors and concerned community members recast their personal memories of domestic pain into iridescent art.  It culminates a two-year community engagement project by Abeles and AWBW. For the collaboration, Abeles drew on her passion for social change, her own history as a survivor, and her long career of working with community groups.

This exhibition, previously on display at the Skirball Cultural Center for eight months in 2011, is now on permanent exhibition at the UBM office in Santa Monica. Of the original 800 unique spherical pearl discs, this display of 130 discs provides a beautiful backdrop to this workplace.  

We acknowledge David Levin, CEO; Andy Crow, Group Operations Director; and Erie Feragne, Director of Facilities and Administration of UBM with much gratitude for bringing "Pearls of Wisdom: End the Violence" and the voices of survivors to the attention of a broader public. In order to further our programs and create empowerment UBM has extended their support even further by matching monetary donations made to AWBW by UBM employees—therefore increasing awareness and helping end this silent epidemic. Thanks to UBM's sharing our mission with 8,000 to 9,000 international news organizations we are already receiving monetary donations as well as art supplies, volunteers, and invaluable support.

Event: AWBW heART gala Food and Wine Tasting, Lexus of Santa Monica, Santa Monica, October 6

AWBW's first annual heART gala food and wine tasting event was a celebration of the launch of AWBW's third decade using art as a healing tool. Previously held at the Zazou restaurant in Redondo Beach, this year it was moved to the elegant and much larger Lexus Santa Monica.  In recognition of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, AWBW honored Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa for coming forward as a childhood domestic violence survivor and for his unwavering commitment to ending this silent epidemic in our community. To accept AWBW's first ever heART Award on the Mayor's behalf were deputy mayors Aileen Adams and Tori Osborne. Adams shared, "…the Mayor's story and the story of his mother, and the transformation, the power of that transformation that took place in his life, is the story of A Window Between Worlds, and the power that, every day, they impart to so many participants in our city and around the country, to turn their lives around and to become stronger, and to become real advocates for a cause."

The AWBW heART gala boasts the support of food sponsors Chef Collin Crannell of The Lobster, Chef Jeffrey Nimer of Haute Chefs LA, Whole Foods, Chef Mako Tanaka Executive Chef of Robata-Ya, Buddha's Belly, Upper West, La Sandia, and desserts from Vibrato Grill and Jazz and Sinners and Saints Desserts. Wonderful event sponsors included JUSTIN Vineyards and Winery, Landmark Vineyards, VeeV Acai Spirit, FIJI Water, The Wine House, POM, koi Designer Scrubs, Color Me Mine, Fisker Santa Monica and Starbucks Coffee

In addition to a food and wine tasting, the event featured an amazing live and silent auction highlighting a week's stay in Kauai, a Staples Center Suite to a King's Game, and a package of two tickets to Dancing With the Stars Semi-Finals with a complimentary stay at The Peninsula Hotel complete with chauffeur. Topping off the extraordinary auction was a breathtaking Mikimoto Akoya cultured pearl 7.5x7mm, 22-inch lariat with pave diamonds set in 18k white gold clasp. This stunning and timeless piece was truly spectacular.

AWBW thanks all hosts, sponsors, attendees and volunteers for joining A Window Between Worlds and Lexus Santa Monica and making this a truly special evening and a momentous year in the lives of women and children seeking a violence-free future. Save the date for AWBW's October 2013 gala.

The AWBW Windows Program is available to any agency or organization seeking to implement art as a healing tool for survivors of domestic violence. For information and to make a donation please visit www.awbw.org, call (310) 396-0317 or email info@awbw.org.

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