CCAD Creates Exhibition with Alum's Anti-Bullying Initiative

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Students at work. Photo by Tyler Dunlavy

Columbus College of Art & Design students partnered with the You Will Rise Project, a multimedia anti-bullying initiative created by Illustration alumnus Paul Richmond, to create Art Against Bullying, a powerful exhibition now on display in CCAD's Design Studios on Broad.

Richmond and eight student mentors from Liberal Arts Professor Michele Hill's Developmental Psychology class worked one-on-one with high school students from Arts & College Preparatory Academy to create raw, uncensored works about their experiences with bullying.

The collaborative installation pieces and individual projects are "amazing and personal," Hill said.

"We found that everyone was creating art that stated how bullying hurts in a very honest way and how they are healing from the experiences," she said.

Richmond (CCAD 2002) created the You Will Rise Project in 2011 in response to a wave of teen suicides caused by bullying. When Richmond was in school, he found solace from bullying in art.

"Having a creative outlet was an important survival tool for me during my own bullying experiences in middle school and high school," he said. "We wanted to create a forum for people to speak out through the arts without censorship, share their stories, connect with others who have shared experiences, and release some of those feelings they may be carrying around inside."

Illustration junior and mentor Madeline Miller said she was drawn to the project because it reminded her of her own experiences.

"It was absolutely inspirational to hear these [high school] students' stories, to see their art change as they began to trust us, and to guide them in expressing their hurt, anger, and frustration through a positive creative outlet," Miller said.

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CCAD alum and You Will Rise founder Paul Richmond and CCAD student Chelsea Tanksley. Photo by Tyler Dunlavy.

For Photography junior Chelsea Tanksley, mentoring high school students was an "interesting and rewarding experience."

"All of us [mentors] were a bit nervous to see how this would go, but after everyone started working on the various projects everything went smoothly," Tanksley said. "Each student had a great personality and their own stories that they wanted to convey using their art."

Richmond is excited about the new partnership and said he hopes to create a traveling exhibition to further the mission of You Will Rise.

"Through our collective creative voices, we can break down barriers and inspire each other, as well as ourselves, to rise above bullying," he said.

A public reception will be held on April 18 from 6–8:30 p.m. in the second-floor gallery in CCAD's Design Studios on Broad, 390 E. Broad St., Columbus, OH, 43215.

Student mentors included Illustration juniors Madeline Miller and Caitlin Watters, Photography juniors Ben Hardin and Chelsea Tanksley, Fashion Design sophomore Kaylene Biddle, Fine Arts sophomores Austin Burnside and Bethany James, and Kelsey Thackery.

Biddle is from Wooster, OH (attended Triway High School); Burnside is from Mason, OH (William Mason High School); Hardin is from Columbus, OH (Sandusky High School); James is from Marion, OH (Marion Harding High School); Miller is from Versailles, KY (Woodford County High School); Tanksley is from Bexley, OH (Bexley High School): Thackery is from Westerville, OH (Westerville North High School); and Watters is from Columbus, OH (Worthington Kilbourne High School).