Karen Lillard
Soul Survivor Arts

My name is Karen Lillard. I am a visual artist. I am a mother, a grandmother, a sister, a daughter, and a friend. I am a Survivor. In November 2014, I was stalked and survived a home invasion sexual assault. My life was changed forever. “Time is Short” has become my mantra. Please take a moment to view the video of my story, and the virtual Gallery Exhibit (link below) that I am asking for your help with today. This video is a powerful story of my experience; please be advised that this video may surface memories or emotions that could be painful for you.

The Soul Survivor Arts Campaign

The Soul Survivor Arts campaign offers a unique opportunity for you to offer healing to survivors by bringing greater awareness about rape culture and sexual violence. Your donations will be utilized to produce the Interactive Gallery Exhibit including accompanying video and media.  The primary goal of this campaign is to bring the Soul Survivor Interactive Gallery Exhibit to as many survivors as possible, and to the people who love and support them. The exhibit includes the “Space of New Beginnings,” a safe, private space where visitors can anonymously write or record their personal fears, perhaps never spoken or shared before. These words and audio clips will be added to the exhibit in real time, allowing attendees the realization that they are not alone, and that someone else shares the same pain.

Another goal of this campaign is to support Soul Survivor Arts in offering Emotive Art Exercises to survivors, with the understanding that healing and creativity are driven by the same energy. Many survivors have not yet found the strength of voice to speak about their pain, and may not ever. I want to share with survivors the healing and release available to them through the artistic expression of their emotions. Soul Survivor Arts seeks to work with other agencies focused on issues of sexual assault, and with the public at large, to bring this exercise to survivors. It is important to me to point out that this activity is not called a class, as I am not teaching anything. True healing cannot be taught. 

    The Impact  

    During the production of the Soul Survivor video, I witnessed firsthand the powerful healing that takes place when survivors break their silence in regard to sexual assault. One of the participants shared her story of sexual assault for the first time, 12 years after it had occurred. The need to share my own story, and my mission to give others the opportunity to speak out, end the silence, the blame, and the shame, were immediately validated.   My greatest joy and validation as an artist and advocate has been learning how my art has impacted those who see it.  It is important to note that, because I am a woman, I tell my own story from that perspective.

    However, it must be acknowledged and accepted that there are NO barriers to separate any of us from sexual assault – not gender, race, age, economic status, or sexual orientation. No one thinks that sexual violence will ever happen to them, and many do not know where to turn when it does – I want to help change that for others. Those who have not been touched by sexual violence rarely think about it – why would they? The culture of shame and silence surrounding sexual assault, often called “rape culture,” is so deeply embedded in our society, and so strong, that we often cannot see it. Only when we begin to SPEAK about sexual violence, to REPORT sexual violence, and aggressively seek to CHANGE our society's reaction to sexual violence – only then will the phrase “rape culture” be eliminated from our vernacular. Only then will sexual violence end. The Soul Survivor exhibit is, at it's core, all about raising awareness to and opening discussion about these issues. 

    Risks & Challenges

    In July of 2015, I made the decision to dedicate all of my resources toward making the Soul Survivor Interactive Gallery Exhibit real. The risk I take personally is that the road may be difficult to travel, however great the reward. The risk that this exhibit will not reach other survivors as soon as possible is a cause for personal concern, and this is a concern that I hope you share. The challenge is to reach as many survivors as possible, as well as agencies that are already working with sexual assault survivors. This challenge includes connecting people on all sides of the issue of sexual assault. It also is about raising awareness that virtually everyone of us has known someone who has experienced sexual violence. Not all survivors feel they can speak about or share their experience, but their silence does not mean that their suffering is over. 

    I will meet these challenges by staying strong in my resolve to make a difference through art and advocacy, and by continuing to form strong alliances with the agencies and programs that can connect me with survivors. I will continue my work as an artist, painting and encouraging others to find healing through creativity. Soul Survivor has grown out of collaboration, and the desire to make a difference – Can I count on you to join in this collaboration?

    The challenge before us is to make this exhibit a reality, sooner than later, so that Soul Survivor Arts can reach a wider audience and have greater impact. I will speak to all those that I can about the Soul Survivor mission, whether this means engaging with a single victim or addressing a group of 100 or more, and I will effect change in our society. The question is, will you embrace this opportunity to enable Soul Survivor Arts to soar, and to help so many survivors begin on the path to healing? When we stand against sexual violence as one community, and raise our awareness to the terms “sexual violence,” “rape culture,” and “second assault,” it becomes possible to address these issues. This is the ultimate goal of Soul Survivor Arts – to be an effective partner in the effort to end sexual crime, as well as the shame and stigma associated with it.

    Other Ways You Can Help

    If you are unable to make a contribution, please consider helping in another way. Spread the word about Soul Survivor Arts via social media, or by sharing our message with those close to you. Someone you know may be interested in supporting this cause! When the Soul Survivor Interactive Gallery Exhibit comes to your town, you'll know that you were the link that made a difference, and a partner in bringing about change. Also, please use all of the IndieGoGo sharing tools available to you, and please visit www.SoulSurvivorArts.org. Thank you so much for all of your help, interest, and generosity, on all levels.




    To donate by mail, please download The Grove Donation Form.

    Join the Soul Survivor Arts Team. Donate Today!

    When you donate, you'll receive these great perks as a thank you! 
    Your gift is tax-deductible.

    Painted Hemp Greeting Card

    5 x 7 blank greeting card and envelope are made entirely of hemp and recycled materials.  I will paint an original work on the front of yours! One of a kind guaranteed! Write a note or letter inside that you will never send. It's up to You!

    Emotive Art Starter Kit

    You now have a chance to experience the joy of letting it go! When you receive your Emotive Art Starter Kit it will include 1. 8x10 canvas with cut edges. You will also receive 3 gouache ( .34 fluid ounce tubes of color), 2 palette knives, 1 brush and one small easel to display your work of art on!

    Original Artwork 18" Tote Bag

    Soft durable poly/poplin fabric 18" x 18 " tote bag with 1" wide black strap for easy carry on shoulder. Machine Washable. Design of bag is an bright original painting by artist Karen Lillard from the Soul Survivor Gallery


    I will do a completely original signed painting just for you.  The painting will be done in my abstract style using oil, ink and metallic pigment powder; on  a gallery wrapped 24"x 24" deep edge canvas. Your painting will then be carefully packaged and arrive at your door.

    Original Abstract Painting

    I will paint an original beautiful abstract painting for you, using only a palette knife.  The signed original will be done with oil, ink, metallic pigment powders on a 36" x 36" deep edge gallery wrapped canvas. Your work of art will then be professionally packaged and shipped to your door!