With the minutes ticking down toward the Friday night event, figuring out all the last-minute details has Louise Dolby a little stressed out.
“I’ll feel really good Saturday morning when it’s over,” she said.
For the past couple of months, Cal Poly journalism seniors Valerie Barrett, Jeanette Etchebehere and Dolby have been busy organizing their senior project: “exposed. an evening of art and awareness.”
Local artists will display their work in the show to benefit the Sexual Assault Recovery and Prevention (SARP) Center in San Luis Obispo. The event will be held from 7 to 10 p.m. Friday at the old Pier One building, located at 848 Monterey St. Refreshments, provided by Trader Joe’s, will be served.
The idea for the show stemmed from organizer Etchebehere’s friendship with photographer Whitney Guenther.
“Having my emphasis in public relations, I knew it was important for my senior project to encompass the skills I’ve learned in the area,” Etchebehere said. “Whitney and I always joke about how I will have to be her publicist and agent when we graduate. All this casual joking led me to thinking about how I could really begin the pursuit of getting her work out into the public’s view.”
When Guenther mentioned that she and a few fellow art and design seniors wanted to put on an art show, Etchebehere offered to organize the event and carry out a public relations campaign for it.
“I knew this task was a lot for one person,” Etchebehere said, “and through a class Louise, Valerie and I formed a group in hope of producing a successful show together.”
The group wanted to involve a local nonprofit and make it a fundraiser. Dolby had been involved with SARP in the past, and felt their mission within the community was important. Her co-organizers agreed.
“The SARP Center is an organization in constant need of monetary support as well as public awareness,” Barrett said in a press release. “Through our event we hope to not only increase awareness of the organization but to also raise enough money to make a substantial donation, and by featuring young artists we hope to draw a crowd who can relate to the SARP Center cause.”
Noting that one in three women in the United States is affected by sexual assault, Dolby called it “a very big issue that people really need to be informed about.”
The center was established in 1976 to provide crisis intervention and treatment services to survivors of sexual assault and abuse. It offers a 24-hour crisis hotline, follow-up counseling and prevention education for people in the community.
The show will feature a variety of photography, oil paintings and installation art by Cal Poly students Timothy Borjas, Dolby, Allison Golden, Guenther, Cassie McFarland and Nate Mohle.
Guenther, will be displaying photos inspired by her desire to create awareness of sexual assault toward men and women.
“My photographs all have an eerie sense,” she explained. “They each show common activities that could result in an unexpected attack.”
She said that there is a naivety among young adults, who often unknowingly put themselves in a position to be victimized – herself included.
“I mostly shoot photos alone and I especially enjoy shooting at night,” Guenther said. “Why do I keep doing this even though it can be dangerous? Because nothing bad has happened yet.”
Guenther cited the false sense of security one can have living in a small town like San Luis Obispo, and said, “Just because nothing has happened (here) recently doesn’t mean it won’t.”
The event provides a unique activity for students and community members alike.
“There aren’t a lot of events in San Luis Obispo that are of this nature,” Dolby said. “This is a way to give back to the community, and something new to do on a Friday night while benefiting a good cause.”