February 03, 2014
final blackburn image with justinefinal blackburn image with justine
In October 2013, The Rotary of Westmoreland hosted an art auction to benefit several local charities, one of which helped to purchase gifts for children in need at Christmas. The art auction was held at the local brewery, All Saints, so attendees were able to taste test their beer while bidding on amazing local pieces of art. 
In addition, the event showcased three local heros.  Among the three people nominated for these awards were Ann Emmerling of the Blackburn Center Against Domestic and Sexual Violence. To keep with the theme of the event, the "awards" given to the three local "saints" were custom created works of art, rather than a traditional plaque. 
I was asked to be the artist to create the piece that would be given to Ann at the event, in honor of the reasons she was being honored.  Ann's 30 years of service to Westmoreland County involves fighting for the rights of women, helping women and children who have suffered from domestic and sexual violence, and seeking the root causes to find ways to stop the violence before it strikes victims. 
I was inspired by Ann Emmerling and the Blackburn Center to create a photograph of a woman breaking free from a weight that is holding her down.  
The dancer in the photograph is Justine Albert, owner of Just Dance in Vandergrift, PA. The image is called Awakening. 
This image was taken at the event, during the unveiling of the three artist's pieces of work, and dedication to their respective awardees. At left is myself, presenting the piece to Ann Emmerling, and at right is Elle Speicher, chair of the event and member of the Rotary of Westmoreland.