Anti-Bullying Workshop Paints New Picture On Life

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High school junior Makayla Harr is making a masterpiece in an art class as she creates a more joyful and bully free life.

"Bullying was really rough for me," explained Harr. "It happened for several years and I felt invisible. I was told I was worthless and I couldn't do anything."

Times have changed for this young artist who is finding hope and inspiration in the "Art Against Bullying" workshops, designed to empower young people to speak out about bullying.

Paul Richmond is with the non-profit group "You Will Rise" and started these workshops last year.  He too was the target of bullies growing up.

"I had a wonderful art teacher who taught me to express what I was going through with painting and drawing," said Richmond. "That made such a huge difference for me. And when I look back I realize that's what saved me."

The workshops, held at the Columbus College of Art and Design, are all about creating raw, uncensored works of art. High school students call it a creative outlet. It helps them get past some of the ugly feelings that come with being bullied.

Students from the college play a big role in the workshops and serve as mentors to the younger students.

"We've also experienced bullying and so we wanted to reach out to high school students who may be still going through this or have experienced something traumatizing and help them work through it," said Colin Wendt who is mentoring Makayla.

"The bullying we experience as kids, it does stay with us, but we can use that to really make a difference and that's what I see these students doing," said Richmond.

"Don't be afraid to go to someone," said Harr. "You can overcome it. Other people will help you. You're no longer alone even though you feel it."

Their art will be on display this week at Acock Galley inside the Joseph Canzani Center located at the corner of Cleveland Avenue and East Gay Street.

For more information visit www.artagainstbullying.com.