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Domestic violence survivors turn to art

Posted at 11:21 PM, Oct 28, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-28 23:21:04-04

ART247 is an art gallery in Lockport, that opened it's doors to the public for a special exhibition, Friday afternoon at 5:18 p.m. That's a number Heather Grimmer will never forget.

"There was an assault earlier in the year in May the 18th, which is why our gallery exhibit started at 5:18," said Grimmer, a domestic violence survivor. 

She is turning her emotions into art, and letting others join her.

"This is an avenue for people to discuss [domestic violence] and how they can open doors to others," said Grimmer. "This is kind of letting go of those emotions, get it out."

Getting out is exactly what Jessica Cassick did. Five years ago she considered herself a victim. Friday, thanks to art she was able to make, she said she's only a survivor. 

"It feels like I should've felt this way a long time ago, but it's now that I'm feeling like I'm myself again, and I'm getting back to art," said Cassick, who other than making art for the exhibit, also helped organize it. "Art was always my thing."

She added she feels stronger because she is able to rely on art after all she's been through.

"He took my art, and he took that passion from me, and he belittled it," said Cassick. "Art is such a huge expression and it helps you heal and it helps other people identify. It's a huge part of our culture. It's important to express what it feels like to be a victim because so many people are feeling it, and most of the time they feel like they're alone, but nobody is alone."

The exhibition is being held until November 13th. They are also accepting art from others who have been in similar situations. You can send it to the art gallery in Lockport at the following address:

247 Market St. Lockport, NY 14094

You can also call them at (716) 404-9884

Both Grimmer and Cassick have moved on one way or another.

According to Grimmer, her attacker, Scott Leffler took a plea deal instead of going through trial, and was charged with second degree harassment. Leffler also has to go through several programs, including counseling, as part of the outcome, and has to stay away from Grimmer for two years. 

Cassick has done a lot for herself since, to move on. She received her associate's degree, bachelor's degree, and is currently in grad school. She is also launching a publishing business in January called ImagineWe, LLC. She has a passion for art... but also for writing. She wrote one book when she was 16 and another at 20.