Abstract Exhibit by Michael DePalma to Benefit Springs Domestic Violence Safehouse

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Mysterious, energetic abstract paintings celebrating the feminine spirit will be displayed throughout October at Academy Art & Frame Company, with the opening reception on Friday, October 17, from 4 to 8 p.m. Proceeds from sales will benefit Colorado Springs agency TESSA, which provides support for survivors of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault (DVSA).

Domestic violence is a relevant, ongoing issue, and it only seems to gain traction in the media when famous people like athletes are caught in violent acts against women.

When Colorado artist Michael DePalma works in oils, his primal and gestural paintings focus on movement, texture, and light. In favoring emotive and spiritual effect of the subject, rather than realistic rendering, his goal is to 'de-objectify' the depiction. Now, he's using that movement away from objectification to raise awareness for survivors of Domestic Violence or Sexual Assault (DVSA).

The vibrant and mysterious abstract pieces in his series “Dance of the Divine Feminine” will display throughout the month of October at Academy Art & Frame Company, with a formal opening reception held on October 17. Though DePalma's heavily textured paintings can feature scenes of struggle and pain, they also demonstrate figures overcoming their hardships to achieve empowerment and energy.

That activity will translate to assistance for TESSA, an agency that supports DVSA survivors with a Safehouse and other comprehensive programming. The exhibit will serve as a fundraiser and donation drive, running through October's Domestic Violence Awareness Month. A portion of sales at the venue will be donated to TESSA by both artist DePalma and Academy Art & Frame Company manager Kim Costello.

Asked how he decided to support TESSA, DePalma recalls, “I knew, based on the positive feedback my female abstracts have had in the past, that I wanted to support an issue important to women. I just wasn't sure which issue, or how to have the most impact.”

His questions were answered by media coverage of Ray Rice, the professional football player accused of assaulting his then-girlfriend and current wife. “Domestic violence is a relevant, ongoing issue, and it only seems to gain traction in the media when famous people like athletes are caught in violent acts against women,” DePalma states.

After approaching Michelle Schaunaman, the Community Outreach Coordinator at TESSA, DePalma had to convince her that his art was in tune with TESSA's mission. “I wanted to know these were respectful depictions of women, and not just paintings of the female body/form,” Schaunaman explains. “After taking the opportunity to meet with Michael and view his artwork, I walked away confident that a collaboration with him was in line with our mission and made sense.”

This partnership continues to grow. Initially a single fundraiser event throughout October at his solo exhibition location, DePalma and Schaunaman have received support from the Pikes Peak Library District (PPLD). In the week prior to the solo exhibit opening, the Ruth Holley, Sand Creek, and Fountain branches of PPLD will each host an awareness speaking event presented by Schaunaman. Artwork from DVSA survivors will accompany the talks, exhibiting at those locations throughout October.

“We're all excited about the relationships we've built,” DePalma says. “TESSA can present at the library annually. Academy Art & Frame will hold different benefits annually. I feel like I'm doing something positive with my art. We're all establishing a pattern of charity, and it really feels like we're helping people.”

The opening reception for “Dance of the Divine Feminine” will be hosted by Academy Art & Frame Company on Friday, October 17 from 4 to 8 p.m. Patrons are encouraged to bring donation items for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. For a list of high-need items, please visit http://www.tessacs.org/give-help/in-kind-donations-copy.

Academy Art & Frame Company is located at 7560 N. Academy Blvd. Colorado in Colorado Springs, Colorado. It is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The shop is closed on Sundays. For more information visit http://www.academyframesco.com or call 719-265-6694.

TESSA offers confidential support and services for victims of Domestic Violence or Sexual Assault (DVSA) and their children. For more information, visit http://TESSAcs.org, or call the main line at 719-633-1462. For assistance, call the crisis line at 719-633-3819.

Michael DePalma has exhibited his work at venues throughout Colorado Springs, including the Manitou Arts Center (formerly the Business of Arts Center), Academy Art & Frame Company, and other local businesses. His paintings have been featured in print and web media through Scottsdale, Arizona's Xanadu Gallery Art Catalogue. His art has been published in the 2014 edition of How Do You See God, a compendium issued by Academy Art & Frame Company, in which artists share their interpretations of the divine.

Michael DePalma's abstract works can be viewed at http://www.waveformexpressionism.com. For more information, please contact him at mdepalma@waveformexpressionism.com, or by calling 719-640-5955.

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Michael DePalma
Visual Artist
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Michelle Schaunaman
TESSA
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