Camden Library plans return of ‘Finding Our Voices’ exhibit

Survivors Mia and Gloria hold “Finding Our Voices” banners with their portraits. Photo submitted

CAMDEN – “Finding Our Voices” is set to return in March with a multimedia exhibition at the Camden Public Library, 55 Main St.

Patrisha McLean began her domestic violence movement with a first photography exhibit at the library in 2019 that featured photographic portraits of 14 Maine survivors, according to a library press release.

McLean’s work continues with a new exhibition of photographs depicting the faces and voices of Maine survivors, titled ’14 to 41: Three Years Later’ and featuring photographic portraits of 41 Maine survivors, ‘standing proud and speaking fort,” including Governor Janet T. Moulins. The exhibition will be presented from March 1 to 31.

The Initial Exposure is a survivor-powered non-profit organization that breaks the silence of domestic violence and also provides support for sisters.

The March exhibit will feature McLean’s photographic portraits of survivors between the ages of 18 and 81, as well as documentation of abuse suffered by women. The display will include a map of Maine showing the more than 65 towns in Maine where the project has displayed displays. Domestic violence has been destigmatized by the use of huge banners in the windows of downtown businesses. The banners feature photographic portraits of survivors, along with quotes referencing the abuses they have transcended, and resource information for available help.

The exhibit’s partner sponsor is First National Bank. Other sponsors are Lucinda Watson, Viking Lumber, Cold Mountain Builders, Hannaford, Stephen and Helene Huyler, Micki and Jeff Colquhoun, and Jane and Scott Wolfe.

The library will host a Finding Our Voices “Survivors Speak” roundtable at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 22 on Zoom. Attendees will hear McLean and other survivors featured in the exhibit talk about their journeys and the work of the Finding Our Voices organization. To register and receive the link to attend, visit librarycamden.org.

A public reception is scheduled from 4 to 5:30 p.m. on Friday, March 25 in the Library’s Picker Room. Following the reception, a concert in aid of Finding Our Voices will be held at 7.30pm at the Camden Opera House at 29 Elm St. The show will feature indie pop duo Roan Yellowthorn with Shawn Strack and Jackie McLean, daughter of Patrisha and one of More than 41 survivors in the exhibit of photographs.

In 2021, Finding Our Voices won two national awards for “having a substantial positive impact on the lives of victims and survivors of domestic violence”, and McLean was named one of the 21 Leaders of the 21st Century by Women’s e -News. Finding Our Voices A survivor-fueled outreach and curriculum has just been distributed to 100 high schools and technical schools in Maine.

Over the past year, Finding Our Voices has donated $30,000 in emergency items and bill payments to help women get out and stay out of dangerous relationships. The organization hosts weekly online sisterhood support groups as well as a monthly domestic violence book club. McLean also has a WERU-FM radio show and a podcast featuring conversations with survivors of domestic violence.

To find out more about the exhibition and related events, visit librarycamden.org. For more information on Finding Our Voices, visit findourvoices.net or email Patrisha McLean at [email protected].

Patrisha McLean founded Finding Our Voices, an organization that encourages women to speak out about domestic violence, after her ex-husband, musician Don McLean, was arrested for domestic violence in 2016. Photo by Gregory Rec/Portland Press Herald

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