Wednesday, February 14, 1996

Billings Gazette, Fundraiser fights domestic violence

A few items at the fundraiser are from Linda's Flower Fashions and Gifts and Glassworks, as well as "Grey Lady in Red," a pastel by Cory Jaeger, and Tiger Quilt by Vicky Thorpe.

February, a month which traditionally represents love and romance, is once again time for the YWCA's benefit to aid in the fight of domestic violence.

The annual fundraiser is next Friday, Feb. 21, according to Kate Weiss, YWCA director of Women's Services.

The benefit will help support the YWCA Gateway House Domestic Violence Shelter.

February has been set aside nationally by domestic violence advocates as a time to sponsor "Love Without Fear" events, Weiss said.

Over 800 women and children found safety at Gateway House in 1996 and another 3,000 found support through the 24-hour crisis line and support groups. Sponsors of the Feb. 21 event at the Y, 909 Wyoming, are the Heights Exchange Club of Billings, the Junior Women's Club, Women in Construction, and Cosco.

All proceeds from the auction go directly to providing services to victims of family violence through the YWCA Domestic Violence Program, Weiss said.

For tickets, which are $30, call (406) 252-6303 or FAX (406) 245-7867. Advance purchase is necessary to plan for the meal.

The Billings Gazette, Billings Montana

Art from the Heart: Children put emotions on paper

Christine C. Meyers
Gazette Arts & Leisure Editor

"You beat time on my head
With a palm caked with dirt,
Then waltzed me off to bed
Still clinging to your shirt."

From Theodore Roethke's
"My Papa's Waltz"
circa 1950

The young are often forgiving.

For them--even kids with broken hearts--Valentine's Day is a time of hope.

Some abused children find art as a catharsis for their wounds.

Through it, they temper their awareness of reality with the hope things will be better.

Artist Cory Jaeger combined her love of kids and the paintbrush with a unique Valentine's Day project involving abused children.

It stands to make $18,000 for YWCA's Gateway House for abused parents and children.

Jaeger, a recent graduate in art from Montana State University-Billings, has experience as a site co-ordinator for the Y's Gateway program, which offers safe haven and counseling to abused and endangered families.

YWCA Women's Services director Kate Weiss approached the artist about producing a fund-raising poster.

"I had a feeling it was a good idea, one that would touch people and give them a way to help us, which we very much need," said Weiss.

Working with Marty Bulgatz, shelter co-ordinator, Weiss put the artist together with some of the children, encouraging them to transfer their emotions and hopes to paper. The result is a heartfelt collage compiled by Jaeger from the kids' evening of art. Cutting sections from their paintings, she used her own sense of design and color to assemble the finished piece.

"We wanted something upbeat, not dark or depressing, to illustrate our theme, 'Love Without Fear.' " Weiss said.

The hearts are a rainbow of subtle colors, soft blues and greens, warm pinks and oranges. Some are cracked, or shadowed with a darker color. "As the kids worked, the tone of their conversations got very serious," Jaeger said. "They talked about their pain."

One of the participating artists, an abused teenage boy, had to be hospitalized shortly after making his contribution. Tom, according to his mother, Marge, felt good about his painting. Her troubled son, she said, responds to art as therapy.

"He has been so emotionally abused by his stepfather that his bowels don't work properly. He is back in medical and psychiatric treatment now, " Marge said Tuesday. "But I think the art has a real positive influence on him and I want him to draw more as he begins to feel better."

The Gateway House kids have suffered a range of ravages, from physical injury and beatings to emotional abuse and badgering, to witnessing the violence of one parent on another, or on a sibling. Some are sexually abused as well.

In two shelters, with protected addresses, up to 50 women and their children may be cared for. The 24-hour hotline is 259-8100.

Jaeger donated her time and talent for the freestyle project and local businesses, including Artcraft Printers, offered discounts to the nonprofit Y.

The poster is signed, "Cory Jaeger and the Gateway Kids" and includes the theme, "Love Without Fear."

"It's the Y's Valentine to the city", says Jaeger, "because it's art from the heart."