It’s a novel online shop which lets you show support for victims of domestic and sexual abuse by buying art they’ve made.
Uncovered Artistry is a not-for-profit organisation set up by twin sisters Angie and Sarah Spoto, 29, to help survivors of abuse.
On their website, they sell jewellery and paper goods, purchased upfront at wholesale prices. The revenue they receive from the sale is used to fund the website and Uncovered Artistry’s community projects, such as art fairs and craft parties intended to promote awareness of abuse.
The twin sisters came across the idea in April 2010 when their college, Lake Forest in Illinois, was working with a grant organisation called “Project for peace”.
Angie, now a doctoral student in creative writing at the University of Glasgow, said: “My sister and I applied for it together. We knew that we wanted to do something that affected many people, and we came across the idea of supporting domestic and sexual abuse survivors by giving them an opportunity to sell their work. We were granted 10,000 dollars to start up our project.”
They want to help prevent future assaults and, by promoting the idea that everyone can be affected by abuse, stress that it is never the victim’s fault.
Angie explained: “There is a lot of darkness associated with domestic abuse, but we try to eradicate misconceptions about it by having a positive and joyful brand and by celebrating the artists in our shop.”
According to her, there is no reason sexual abuse should exist. She says the way of preventing it is to make individuals aware of how they are thinking about it, how they can spot it if friends or family are suffering, and how they can help them.
She said: “It is not a natural disaster, something that is completely unpreventable, but something that is created in our society.”
Despite their interest in fighting abuse, Angie admits they had to do a lot of research before starting up the business. She also stresses the importance of regularly catching up on the latest news.
“One of the hardest things about the topic we are working on can be very disheartening. I do a lot of research into domestic abuse, what legislation is being cast by domestic abuse, and how domestic abused is portrayed.”
All of the company’s workers are anonymous for safety reasons. Sarah, who is doing an MBA at the University of Rochester in New York, said: “Some of our artisans have left dangerous situations, and we don’t want to bring them harm by disclosing their information. We also realise that the situations our artisans have courageously overcome are deeply personal and we want to respect that with anonymity.”
Because of the secrecy, the founders do not know if their work actually fights stereotypes. Still, Sarah says Uncovered Artistry has made a difference.
”Our artisans tell us that they appreciate our support and the recognition we strive to give to survivors of abuse. We also regularly receive anonymous messages on our website thanking us for raising awareness about abuse and recognising the courage of the women and men who have survived something many people do not understand.”
For more information, visit their website: http://www.uncoveredartistry.com/