Caroline Lovell, Shelter to Shelter

Caroline’s project, Shelter to Shelter, was designed to creatively bring voice and healing to survivors of domestic violence. Caroline and her partner spent the summer of 2013 conducting workshops at 11 different shelters for women who have endured domestic violence. Caroline writes:

From California to Wyoming, Kansas, Illinois, West Virginia, and Texas and beyond, my partner and I drove hundreds of miles each day, stayed in motels and campgrounds and then hosted workshops at 11 shelters in eleven states. Our hope was to reach women who are often isolated and who would be willing to share their stories of resiliency after recovering from years of abuse. Each safe house we visited provided housing, counseling, legal advocacy and education to their clients, many of whom are younger than 30. We interviewed every director and were happy to tour the facilities and learn as much as we could about their ongoing program needs.

Our healing arts workshop, Traveling Postcards, was an opportunity for every woman we met, to share her collective wisdom while also creating an intimate hand- made piece of art that became a portrait of her authentic self. The cards are beautiful and the creative process allowed for much needed healing as well as a connection to a global community of women who care about ending violence against women.

Each card created became a gift of compassion and solidarity that will be sent to another woman who lives in a shelter and will know that she is not alone. I watched over and over again as women opened their hearts and saw that their voices had value and meaning. Each woman shared her struggle and her resiliency through the creative process and was proud to finally place her finished Traveling Postcard in the symbolic suitcase that would carry her voice to the next survivor.”

With additional funds, Caroline will create and pilot a Traveling Heart “hospital bag” to survivors of sexual assault. After an attack, a woman must go through a hospital procedure or “rape kit” in order to help prosecute her attacker. This is a battery of tests and information collecting that is necessary but invasive. At the end of her procedure, a woman is often ( not always) given a Hospital Bag; a plastic bag to take home with gently used clothing, new underwear, basic toiletries. The “traveling heart” bag will be made thoughtfully without plastic, and will contain not only information about local services for sexual assault survivors, but also a traveling postcard from another survivor.