For more information on Artsclamation!, Please contact:
Jen Sheehan, Development Manager
Fort Sanders Foundation
Phone (865)531-5210 | Fax (865)531-5211 | E-mail: email@example.com
Why support Artslcamation:
A promise for tomorrow.
The background is dark. There are streaks of bright white and a hand reaching skyward. Andee Anderson says the canvas shows a painting that expresses how she felt during intensive therapy at Peninsula Lighthouse.
“This is me,” Anderson says, pointing to the hand. “And behind it is what I was going through. See the darkness? That’s me relying not only on myself, but on God so it’s like taking back myself.”
Anderson’s love of painting was put away as she struggled through a 30-year marriage that turned abusive when her husband suffered a mental breakdown. She witnessed a dozen suicide attempts and carried hidden wounds under her clothes.
“People would see us and say, ‘You guys are the perfect couple,’ but when the doors closed. . .” Anderson’s voice trails off.
Fighting to hide the ugly truth even her daughter didn’t know, Anderson became a caregiver, losing her identity to save a man who was hurting her physically, verbally and emotionally. One night Anderson was awakened by a sense of pressure on the side of her head. She opened her eyes to see her husband standing over her with a barbeque fork pressed against her temple and a flashlight he was about to use as a hammer. Anderson called Peninsula Lighthouse the next morning. She had already been in therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and social anxiety, but knew she needed more.
“The Lighthouse saved me,” Anderson says. “They give so much help and support, but they don’t judge. I call them earth angels.”
Anderson began intensive therapy that brought her strength and wisdom. She also received support as she went to court for protection, then for her divorce and as she transitioned into a new life in a new home. The Lighthouse staff also worked to help Anderson help herself. A return to painting was a prime example. After seeing a couple of her old paintings, Anderson was encouraged to try expressing herself on canvas. Her first painting opened the floodgates of creativity she needed to find her way back to herself.
“Before I knew it my whole house was covered in paintings. I was able to express myself. Then I started feeling good inside.”
Anderson sold 22 paintings at Peninsula’s “Artsclamation!” fund raiser. Someone bought her very first painting, but for some reason never came to claim it. So Anderson has a reminder of her journey from abuse and fear to freedom and confidence.
“I’m literally creating myself,” Anderson says. “I left with nothing, but I left with the most important thing, and that’s myself. I wouldn’t have been able to realize that without the Lighthouse.”
An important turning point came in June 2018 when Anderson received a call that her ex-husband had committed suicide. Because she hadn’t been there to stop him, she began to question herself and feelings of guilt began to creep in. A Lighthouse therapist helped Anderson understand that she hadn’t had time to fully grieve the death of her marriage before the death of her ex-husband. She had held back her feelings for years, trying to hide her emotions. The words of her therapist unlocked something deep inside her.
“I don’t know where it came from, but all of a sudden there was one tear and then another tear,” Anderson says. “I grieved the loss of a 30-year marriage, I grieved the loss of who I thought was my best friend, I grieved the death. It was worst pain I have ever felt in my entire life.”
Anderson says her therapist helped her understand that holding everything inside was unhealthy. Once she began to release her pain, she also began to release who was on the inside. Anderson credits the Lighthouse and the Lord for carrying her through the darkest days of her life. Even now she knows she can reach out to the Lighthouse for help, and she still reaches out to that higher power when things get hard.
“There’s always a lesson to be learned, a solution and a promise for tomorrow,” Anderson says.
Today Anderson is using the creative gifts that were rekindled at the Lighthouse to make living as an artist. She has a business page on Facebook and under the moniker “Furrever Art,” she paints portraits of animals particularly ones that have passed away. Her paintings bring comfort to their grieving owners. To anyone who may be involved in an abusive relationship, Anderson says, “Be honest with yourself, don’t give up on yourself and if somebody is trying to take you away from yourself, it has to stop.
Andee is so grateful for the help she found at Peninsula. She wouldn’t be the healthy, successful woman she is today without that help…and without your support. Your contribution to Peninsula ensures that your friends, family members, and neighbors can receive the help they need.
Did you know that one in four East Tennesseans suffers from a mental health problem? Most of them suffer in silence, under the stigma of embarrassment and shame we have built around mental illness. Peninsula is committed to fighting that stigma and providing diagnosis, treatment and ongoing support to build a better life for those affected by mental illness.
With your help, we can ensure care is available for individuals facing mental health and addiction issues right here in our community. Artsclamation!, a fine art sale to benefit Peninsula, will be held October 25 and 26, 2019, at Rothchild Catering and Conference Center. Your support is vital. Artsclamation! not only increases awareness of mental health issues and fights the stigma surrounding them, but also funds the critical services and programs offered by Peninsula.
Please consider supporting Artsclamation! and Peninsula with your donation. The brochure link above outlines sponsorship opportunities and benefits. If you have any questions or would like additional information, please contact Jen Sheehan at (865) 531-5208 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for your consideration!
The Artsclamation! Event Committee