LAUREL, Miss. (WDAM) - An upcoming event in Laurel featuring artists from across the United States will benefit the Domestic Abuse Family Shelter.
The Domestic Abuse Family Shelter serves victims of domestic violence across 11 Mississippi counties. Through donations, the shelter is able to provide everyday resources to victims.
“It goes towards everything that you would need at home, just multiply that by dozens of people every day,” said Jason Niblett, community outreach and victim advocacy at the shelter. “From toothpaste, laundry detergent, paper towels, toilet paper.”
It also helps with more serious issues.
“We have to pay for their medications a lot of times,” Niblett said. “We pay for doctor’s visits and we have legal assistants. We actually have an attorney on staff who will go to court with people, custody battles and things like that.”
But it can’t provide those resources without help from donations and grants. Because of that, Pinehurst Rathskeller, an art gallery in Laurel, is donating all proceeds from its upcoming event to the shelter.
“We knew that the domestic violence center did not have any major fundraisers and this event was COVID-friendly because they space so far away from each other and pretty much everything is held outside,” said Amy Luker, owner of Pinehurst Rathskeller. “So, we figured that this was something very different and something that would benefit all of downtown Laurel.”
On Friday and Saturday, artists from across the country will travel to Mississippi to participate in the ‘En Plein Air’ event. Officials say En Plein Air is a type of art in which artists set up their supplies outside and paint the sights they see.
For Luker, the decision to donate the proceeds to the Domestic Abuse Family Shelter was personal.
“I’m a survivor of domestic violence, so I wanted to give back to this community, especially in D.A.F.S.,” Luker said.
She notes domestic abuse isn’t bound to any particular demographic.
“It made me realize that there’s a stigma along with who you think is being abused and who you don’t know is being abused,” Luker said. “And that’s why it means so much to me. I want to, I want to break that stigma and I want people to understand it a little bit better. It’s something special that we have a shelter here. I think we need to definitely support it.”
It’s not too late to sign up for the event. To register, click here.
If you are a victim of domestic violence needing help, you can call the Domestic Abuse Family Shelter 24-hour crisis line at 1-800-649-1092.