Artists: Marie Lincoln, Heather, Linda P., and Karen Stevens. Samantha Urdea
The word drawn for Phoenix House/Elizabeth Fry is “FUTURE.” It seems so appropriate as the programs and services that live at these societies are about the future, about rebuilding hopes and dreams for a better future. Much like the university does for students; Phoenix and Elizabeth Fry do for women and children escaping violence. The women love the word. They want to surround it with symbols of what the future means to them. They are keen to support each other: “Each person should do one letter of the word.” They all quickly agree that the art piece must include the phoenix because “that is who we are.” The phoenix they tell me is about the future, about recovery, about rising up renewed and strong. And suddenly the group is on fire. Each letter will be drawn as a symbol for the future.
“The F is a tree, it is growing from strong roots and growing across the top of the glass.” “And the U – it has a phoenix rising from it.” “There has to be a rainbow, that’s about diversity and acceptance and that is the future that can be the T.” The second U is powerful. “This letter holds love and peace and happiness. That was my mom’s saying. She was murdered 23 years ago and it was unsolved until a month and a half ago. There are answers now.” It is right her words are in here, carried here by her daughter because her daughter is her future. The R is a bird, because “birds are free to fly away. And at rest, the wings are folded to enclose a heart.” The E to end the word is a butterfly. “The butterfly symbolizes metamorphosis and change. And the future brings change, whether you want it to or not.”
Each individual letter and symbol comes together to make the future, just as the women gather here together are remaking their futures.