Artists raise funds
for safe house, Casa Vida
By Arooj Ashraf, La Prensa Correspondent
Cleveland: The Negative
Space gallery buzzed with live music by ‘Rice & Beans’
as 60 people mingled with food in hand bidding on their favorite
art pieces on display. Seven local artists donated their art in
support of the Latina Project Casa Vida, a safe house
operated by Domestic Violence and Children Advocacy Center’s
Latina Project advisory committee, for abused women in dire
need of protection and security.
serves on the advisory committee which organized the fundraiser
to provide support; “The house was an anonymous donation,” she
said. Since Dec. 2011 it has been providing Latina victims with
a safe place to recover. The committee provides many services
ranging from mental health counseling to legal aid services. Up
to two families can stay at the house rent free and the
organization provides for basic needs such as transportation,
clothing and supplies.
Ms. Sehinkman said the
upkeep of the house provided unique challenges to the
organization’s budget and they considered and art show benefit
as an opportunity to raise funds. “Most of the artists are
donating their pieces upfront,” she said and the silent auction
The art pieces
included Mexican dolls called “Catrinas,”
typical of Day of the Dead, and several abstract from
artists Dante Rodríguez, Ana Luisa Sánchez, Rafaél Valdivieso
Troya, José Vásquez, María de Jesús Paz, Hector Castellanos
Lara, and portrait pieces from Mark Krieger.
DVCAC provides education
to create awareness of domestic violence and highlight services
available to victims. “Sometimes communities look the other way
not out of neglect but not knowing,” she said. The aftermath of
Ariel Castro’s serial kidnappings in Cleveland has
heightened the community’s general sense of responsibility and
sensitivity to issues of violence against women, said Ms.
Sehinkman, adding that knowledge can be a catalyst to change.
DVCAC reports nearly 1 in
4 women experience abuse; verbal and physical, by an intimate
partner in their lifetime but fear and shame keeps victims from
reporting incidents. She said the national figures of domestic
violence among the Latino community are similar to most
ethnicities but unreported cases are much higher.
Ms. Sehinkman added in
minority and immigrant communities the stress of immigration
proceedings often increases the triggers of domestic violence.
Casa Vida is also a sanctuary for undocumented victims as
they await legal paperwork to be able to work, and find
For more information and
to support the project visit:
Note that the Domestic Violence Helpline is 216-391-HELP and the
Family Helpline is