The morning after the fifth teenage suicide in the past six months at my daughter's high school, our family sat together and contemplated how we could help our community. We felt helpless and discouraged. We did not know what we could do for anyone else, but we knew that we must try something. We had to shake this anger, fear, and disbelief from our souls.
So we directed our energy towards an art project.
We are aware of the way that creativity and building things has aided our own healing during painful times. We have experienced some magical moments as a family when given the opportunity to create, build, and share in a public setting. We decided to make our backyard fence the public setting and our objective to remind our neighbors, our classmates, our teachers, our friends, and the rest of the world that there is still love in the world–whether love for a pet, a friend, a lost one, or even yourself.
We collectively decided that we would spray paint flowers and the single word, "LOVE" onto our old fence that backs a very well-traveled frontage road. We decided that stencils would prevent shy artists from refraining from the fun.
Now we needed paint. Our 15 year old wrote a letter to the owner of some local Ace Hardware stores. We knew his children attended our same school. This was getting all of us focused on something outside of ourselves. It was beginning to make us talk about and inform others of our need to "Spray the Love". Ace was incredibly helpful and eager to assist our goal and donated all of our paints.
We needed to get the word out. While the oldest was getting supplies, our youngest returned to her sketchbook. This time to create flyers that we could post on all of the local mailboxes immediately.
We did not want the conversation to wane once the project was over. We knew the fence would catch some eyes, but we wanted others to help spread the positive word.
Taking the girl's artwork into Illustrator, these bad boys were printed by Sticker Mule, an online custom sticker printer. When we explained why we needed the stickers immediately, they comped the rush charges and gave us a discount.
See for yourself, here, at SpraytheLove.com
This project took us about two weeks to plan and perform. We were in town for about five days during the planning phase. We never would have been able to complete this without the amazing technology listed here. I never could have done this on my own as a professional in such time. The ability to have such powerful software that my early teenage daughters could master and produce the level of marketing materials that they did is stupendous.
The ability to use incredible hardware while traveling and the syncing of ink and paper to ultimately hardboard, laser cut, high-quality stencils and signs makes me want to advocate not just our positive message to LOVE, but also all of these magnificent products that allowed us to Spray the Love.