Live Through This: Artists Collective Wants Bullied Kids to Make Art, Rise Above It

Paul Richmond faced his fair share of bullying in school for being gay, and he wouldn’t have gotten through it without the support of his then-mentor Linda Regula. Looking back, Richmond and Regula realized that their shared experiences being bullied enriched their art and, conversely, art gave them both an expressive safe space for their feelings.

As we all know, anti-gay bullying is a prevalent problem with really disastrous effects.

That’s why the two have come together to launch the You Will Rise Project, an anti-bullying art collective based on the internet:

Through the project blog, the two artists share submitted works – both written and visual art pieces – by people who are struggling with bullying right now, at this moment, and therefore empower them to rise above it. Regula’s own contribution is a painting of the Phoenix, linking her own experiences back to the classic story of the bird that rises from its own ashes:

The two artists are hoping that the You Will Rise Project will inspire young people and empower them as they struggle with bullying and other negative social experiences. Richmond and Regula think that the experience of, and feelings associated with, being bullied should be expressed and shared – and that’s inspirational.

This is an interesting project relative to the It Gets Better project — instead of promising a brighter future or even actual change within their schools, You Will Rise provides a way for kids to learn ways to live through it and make it to the other side.

Once you’ve checked out the digital gallery, you can help the project win a Pepsi Refresh Grant, or even submit something yourself. The artists want the project to grow to include thousands of submissions, and use it to create dialogue and raise awareness on the topic of bullying and its effects.

And in the meantime, I’m going to go read Maya Angelou’s “Still I Rise.”


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Carmen

Carmen spent six years at Autostraddle, ultimately serving as Straddleverse Director, Feminism Editor and Social Media Co-Director. She is now the Consulting Digital Editor at Ms. and writes regularly for DAME, the Women’s Media Center, the National Women’s History Museum and other prominent feminist platforms; her work has also been published in print and online by outlets like BuzzFeed, Bitch, Bust, CityLab, ElixHER, Feministing, Feminist Formations, GirlBoss, GrokNation, MEL, Mic and SIGNS, and she is a co-founder of Argot Magazine. You can find Carmen on Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr or in the drive-thru line at the nearest In-N-Out.

Carmen has written 920 articles for us.

7 Comments

  1. The idea behind this is excellent, but they need to up their game as to content (especially as regards poetry). Theres no point in doing it if you accept every single submission regardless of quality.

    • This is the whole point of our website. Each person has a unique voice, and we understand this may be the first time these contributors have found the courage to speak out, so why such we alter that voice, or make “corrections?”
      This is not our intent! Some of these are submissions are from young children who are speaking out for the first time. We want vistors to the site to listen, to hear their voices, not an adult’s interpretation of “what they probably meant to say.”
      We are not publishers, producing professional poetry, but seek to supply an untainted platform for each person, young and old, untrained and professional, to speak out about bullying in their own creative way. It’s why we do this! Thank you for visiting the site. Linda Regula

  2. Thank you so much for spreading the word about our anti-bullying website. Paul and I hope, in some way, this website will inspire victims of bullying to speak out, something I was never given the opportunity to do as a child growing up in the mountains of West Virginia during the forties and fifties. It’s true that world was very different from the high tech world today, kids were just as mean, just as vicious…and it was always face to face.
    When I was thirteen, my sister relocated me to Ohio,taught me that an educated, creative person can rise above anything if they believe in their unique skills and abilities. I’m only paying it forward, as Paul (my golden child) is also doing. Linda Regula

  3. Fantastic – giving the young people a voice is one step beyond the “it gets better” campaign – give them tools to say what’s happening to them, and get them exploring creatively at the same time. One of the things that got me and other adults I know through the bullying and harassment when we were young was focusing on a talent or art that we were good at and tuning all the other stuff out. There are a lot of over-achieving gay adults out there for that reason; they had to create something they could hold on to.

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