MISSION

The mission of the You Will Rise Project is to provide a multimedia showcase for people of all ages who have been bullied to share their stories through the arts. Submissions can include visual art (paintings, drawings, sculptures, videos, etc.) as well as poetry, song lyrics, short stories, or other creative expressions that best capture their personal experiences. The You Will Rise Project asks only that contributors be truthful and real. No corrections or alterations will be made to the works that are posted on the site.

By giving visitors the opportunity to view these creative works, we hope to educate, instill pride, generate positive feedback, and provide online resources – all for the purposes of supporting, inspiring creative productivity, fostering respect for cultural and sexual diversity, and improving the quality of life for those who have been or are currently being bullied.

The You Will Rise Project was started by Linda Regula and Paul Richmond, two artists who were bullied as kids and who now use their visual voices to speak out about this horrific issue.

 

THE PHOENIX

The colorful phoenix that appears in our logo was painted by project co-founder Linda Regula. Here she explains its significance:

“Being poor, shy, skinny, and motherless, I was bullied unmercifully as a child. When I was in the fourth grade, our teacher asked students to listen to a story about a phoenix, then to draw a picture of the mythical fire bird rising from ashes. From the narrator’s first sentence, I was captivated by the fascinating story and my imagination easily enabled that magnificent bird to escape the plastic covering of the radio; to swoop and fly through my thoughts as vividly as if that wondrous creature were actually riding the breezes drifting through the open window.

I stared down at the large square of paper and concentrated hard on its blank surface. Suddenly, in my mind’s eye, the magnificent miniature of a Phoenix settled down onto the snowy whiteness of the paper. Picking up a pencil, I carefully traced around the outline that my imagination placed on the surface. I couldn’t keep from chuckling as I shooed the freed bird to the top of my desk to wait for me to finish its portrait.

Gathering up several crayons marked with names that I loved, I colored its feathers emerald green, ruby red, violet, and cobalt blue. At last, satisfied that my Phoenix appeared to live within the drawing, I created a radiant yellow sun whose golden rays seemed to tease the bird into flight. I then drew glowing embers scattered beneath its feet, and colored black and brown residue clinging to its long legs to indicate that the great bird was rising from sooty ashes.

For the first time in my young life, as I stared down at the drawing, I felt that I’d accomplished a rare thing. I’d listened to a verbal description of an amazing bird rising from fire, and recreated with paper and crayons an image that spoke just as eloquently as had the narrator’s words.

My drawing was chosen as the best, and was displayed in the teacher’s ‘Honor Place.’ A few minutes later, the teacher left the classroom, and the boy who constantly taunted me, grabbed it down, tore it into pieces, then threw it into the air like confetti. Memory of that bully destroying my phoenix drawing still remains as if that magnificent fire bird, its feet coated with hot ashes, had actually walked across my brain.

I don’t remember drawing again until adulthood, so I know how deeply being bullied, especially when one’s home life is also horrendous, can affect a child.”

 

OUR STORY

Linda Regula and Paul Richmond, co-founders of the You Will Rise Project, go way back — 1984 to be precise. It was just before Paul’s fourth birthday and his parents had asked Linda, a local artist whom they had read about in the newspaper, if she would take him on as a student because of his insatiable desire to draw. She was reluctant due to his age, but agreed to a trial lesson. An instant bond was formed – one that has lasted twenty seven years! Not only did Linda teach Paul how to paint, she also taught him how to use his art to express what he was feeling and experiencing, just as she did in her own work.

Besides being artists and best friends, Linda and Paul also have something else in common. They were both bullied as kids. Linda attributes her experience of being bullied to the fact that she was “poor, skinny, motherless, and very shy.” Paul was bullied because he is gay. They both believe that these hardships served as powerful motivation to make choices that ultimately enriched their lives — and their art.

Watch this short film The Mentor and the Artist by Wild Iris Films to learn more about the special relationship between Linda and Paul and how it led to the development of this project.

 

THE TEAM

LINDA REGULA, Co-Founder

A visual artist for 31 years, Regula utilizes imagination and past experiences to create powerful paintings and write fictionalized stories (ten books in print) that, in many instances, chronicle her life story. Working mainly in oils, she also creates a powerful, disturbing, and beautiful series of paintings to address contemporary issues adversely affecting women and children. Regula shares an art studio with her husband in downtown Zanesville, Ohio, where she teaches art, mentors children and, as an active community volunteer, works to better her adopted hometown.

Visit Linda’s Facebook page to see more of her artwork.

 

PAUL RICHMOND, Co-Founder

Paul Richmond is a fine artist and illustrator. After coming out of the closet in 2002, painting became a vehicle for exploring and understanding his own journey and developing a dialogue with other members of the LGBT community. He has done extensive volunteer work including organizing art classes and exhibitions for Kaleidoscope Youth Center, an organization serving LGBT teens in Columbus, Ohio. He is also the associate art director for Dreamspinner Press.

Visit Paul’s website to see more of his artwork.

 

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AARON ANDERSON, Director

Aaron Anderson is a graphic designer and a fine artist. He attended Columbus College of Art and Design, where he received his BFA in Advertising and Graphic Design in
2011. He is currently in the design field, and is hosting an art class called “The Joy of Arting” in Central Ohio. He is also a director for the You Will Rise project.

Aaron always felt he was different growing up and, over time, found out just how different he was. Being gay and an artist might seem to go hand in hand, but things are
not always so pleasant through childhood. He was bullied all through school, but through art, he has found himself and gained confidence as well as his calling in life. Making art can be a powerful experience and it has the ability to help yourself and others as well. Helping others has been a long-time goal of his through his own art and the work he does through the You Will Rise project.

Check out Aaron’s website: aaronbydesign.me

 

ANGELA WILSON, Director of Operations

Angela Wilson has worked in education for over ten years as a teacher, a content editor, an instructional designer, and a solutions developer, with her M.S. in Math Education. In addition to education, art has been her life-long passion. Angela joined the YWR team to encourage the use of art as a means of expression.

 

MELISSA FORMAN, Special Projects

Melissa has been drawing and painting commissioned portraits since she was 14. She attended the Columbus College of Art and Design and graduated with a BFA in 2002. She now lives and works in Cleveland, Ohio. She spends her time creating a richly visual world filled with characters from an opulent, mysterious, and often eerie imagination. Her personal work has been shown in galleries around the world, from New York City to Seattle to Los Angeles to Berlin, Germany to Bristol, England.

Visit Melissa’s website to see more of her work.

 

MICHAEL JEWELL, Special Projects

Michael Jewell is an associate creative director with strong conceptual, strategic and problem-solving skills and a storyteller who is passionate about coming up with ideas and bringing them to life. There’s a diversity of style in his work because every project points toward its own visual direction and he enjoys the process of discovering the distinctive voice of an idea rather than assigning it a predetermined style.

Check out Michael’s website: michaeljewell.com

 

MADELINE MILLER, Programming Director

Madeline Miller views herself as an educator, an artist and a life long learner. She joined You Will Rise in 2015 when she helped create the Community Based Learning Program, Art Against Bullying, at Columbus College of Art and Design in conjunction with her Senior Honors Thesis. Madeline is the Co-Founder and Director of Development of the Art Your Way Foundation, a chapter of You Will Rise. In her free time she enjoys coaching Special Olympic Basketball, illustrating her next children’s book and finding new ways to help make the world a better place.

 

BETHANY JAMES, Programming Director

Bethany James is Co-Founder and Director of Programs of Art Your Way Foundation. She participated as a mentor in the Art Against Bullying Project in Columbus, Ohio for You Will Rise. As a graduate of Columbus College of Art & Design, Bethany is an art educator, creative metalsmith, and avid animal lover. Owner of Leo Handcrafted Goods, she showcases her contemporary jewelry and gives back to the community.

 

BRIDEN SCHUEREN, SPECIAL PROJECTS

Briden’s artistic exploration began in the rural Pennsylvanian town of Cooks Forest, with his grandmother Norma, a painter. From his grandmother, he learned to convey complex emotions through deliberate brushstrokes and color usage. As a child, Briden struggled with a learning disability, resulting in his struggle to connect and socialize with other children. These early adversities became a source of strength because exploring textures and media allowed him to express his emotions and connect with others. His broad body of work boasts both unique textures and mixed media used across the entire collection. Being born a female-bodied person, the challenges, obstacles, and personal reformations have been abundant, leading to the happy person he is today. Often he credits his ability to create and explore through art as a practice as having saved his life. Briden sees his work as having the power to help others in a similar way. “I share my art because through this experience my life has been forever changed, and I want to encourage anyone who will listen, to find their creative facet in life for themselves, to find what allows them to express their truth, as art has changed my life for the better.”

Learn more on his website here.