As a new message of hope goes up in the form of a mural on the side of a garage at the Harbor House domestic abuse shelter, the person who financially made it possible knows the result will be art proving its power to uplift and empower people.
Katherine Westover is supporting the project from her Acts of Love Fund within the Community Foundation. The theme of the Appleton mural is “Together We Rise.” She left the final design up to Harbor House and the artist Irineo Medina.
Westover, a CPA by trade and a photographer by passion, said we need to think beyond logic and let creativity have its place as well.
“Art gives us a new perspective,” she said. “It opens our minds to new possibilities.”
Medina said he wants the mural to stir conversation about how the confinement caused by COVID-19 has contributed to increased domestic violence. The mural is truly public art. Members of the public, including Westover, have participated in painting it.
“I like the idea of public art because it is accessible to everyone and can literally be a bright spot in a dreary day,” Westover said.
Having a fund at the Community Foundation helped her learn more about the opportunities for charitable giving in the community and decide which best aligned with her values and goals. The very act of writing a description for the Acts of Love Fund helped her define her priorities, she said.
Westover has a long history with the Community Foundation, having served on its board and as its treasurer. She said she always planned to leave a significant part of her estate to her fund at the Community Foundation, but in recent years she’s come to realize it would be gratifying to make grants from the fund while she’s still living.
“To me, it’s what touches my heart,” she said.
Women escaping abusive relationships and rising up for a better future qualifies.