Last weekend, Island City had the honor of hosting Battle of the brushes, a live painting auction where all the proceeds went to the Women’s Resource Center. There were 20 local artists who competed in three rounds which resulted in Gale Berndt being named the winner!
Gale said she has enjoyed painting since she was a little girl, and decided to join battle of the brushes because of the cause it was supporting. Gale believes that we can all use our talents to benefit each other in someway, you just have to get creative!
The WRC is a local nonprofit that serves the community through advocacy, protection and education, according to the director, Dianna Miller. The WRC functions to create a reality which recognizes the value and equality of women in all aspects of life, including economic independence, freedom from violence, and equal access to and power in the political process." When the WRC was established in 1978, there were no services for women who wanted to protect themselves and their children from a violent spouse and father, or for women who had been sexually assaulted. These were issues that just were not brought up in "polite conversation," and few if any professionals in the criminal justice or health care systems had any knowledge of, training for, or, often, sensitivity to the needs of these women. Typically, these women were also burdened with the stigma of having somehow brought these troubles on themselves, through their own behavior, or, alternatively, with the silence imposed on them by social norms regarding sexual assault and domestic violence.
The money raised at battle of the brushes goes directly to the Women’s Recourse Center as well as the artists that participated. We couldn't have done this event without help from the Minnesota Marine Art Museum, Great River Shakespeare Festival, Blue Heron Coffeehouse and support from our amazing community!