Middle Way House will hold its first drive-thru luncheon for Sexual Assault Awareness Month 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. April 15 at Switchyard Park.
Tickets are $25 each, and 50th Anniversary of Middle Way House commemorative T-shirts are available for $20 at registration.
The annual luncheon is normally in person but will be a drive-thru event to keep the community safe, according to a Middle Way House press release issued April 1.
Middle Way House works to support all survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking and aims to educate the community through outreach and prevention programs, according to its website.
Middle Way House provides services for survivors of domestic abuse, sexual violence, stalking and human trafficking such as emergency shelter, a 24/7 help and crisis line, transitional and permanent housing solutions and prevention programs, among other resources.
Sexual Assault Awareness Month is an annual national campaign to raise public awareness about sexual assault.
Each attendee will receive a boxed lunch from Jimmy John’s and a book titled “Blood, Water, Paint.” The book is based on the life of Italian Renaissance painter Artemisia Gentileschi, who was assaulted and found strength and healing in her art.
Christopher DeYoung, chair of the events committee, said the theme of the luncheon will be empowerment.
“Spring is a time of renewal,” DeYoung said. “After this year of lockdown, we wanted something uplifting.”
DeYoung said Renaissance art is often male artists painting women, and he said he thinks it is important to see women painted through Gentileschi's female gaze.
“Men make women more of a seductress. Artemisia’s images are totally different,” DeYoung said. “Artemisia’s story combines an awareness for Sexual Assault Awareness Month with empowerment through her art.”
Events coordinator Mindy Bartlett said this is the first event she has helped plan for Middle Way House since being hired in November. She said the story of Gentilschi is important to share with survivors of sexual assault and the general public because she was able to find strength after enduring intense hardship.
“Because of her journey and her struggles, it was very poignant that we followed her example of finding her empowerment,” Bartlett said. “We went through 20-25 ideas before we chose this one.”
Additional art will be on display at the drive-thru luncheon. Local artist Danielle Bruce is creating artwork for people to view as they pick up their lunches.
Middle Way House will offer a virtual event April 29 to discuss themes in the book with others titled “Artemisia: A portrait of empowerment.”
To sign up for the luncheon, visit the event page on the Middle Way House website.