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Art exhibit empowers local girls

LAWTON, Okla._A one day only art exhibit sought to empower girls one self-portrait at a time in Lawton this afternoon.

The “Reviving Ophelia” exhibit is the culmination of a free month long workshop put on by the organization "Ballast Art." Twelve girls, between the ages of 10 and 14, participated. The group started about two months ago in Lawton and is providing free art projects to empower teens.

The girls learned to paint, but also talked about facing sometimes difficult topics like bullying, self-harm and dating violence. The artists say they learned empowerment through positive thinking.

"If you put your mind to it. It is possible. You can do anything that you want," said 11-year-old Alexis Vega.

Vega says she is very proud of the portrait of herself in dance class.

"I tried doing the best I could. In this picture my hair was longer before I cut it and so in the picture while I was drawing it. I changed my hair in it," said Vega.

Queene Billy, 13, says she was shy at first, but this workshop has taught her to be more outgoing.

"Be confident because in the end that is all you have is just confidence. I think it would be good if everybody was confident then the world would be a much better place," said Billy.

Ballast Art co-founder Rose Welch says teenage girls face societal pressures, like bullying.

"For standing up to bullying in non-confrontational ways such as later on going to the person and saying I didn't like that or later on going to the victim and saying I am sorry that happened," said Welch.

Welch says this workshop for girls is just the start of what they hope to accomplish in helping teenagers through art.

"We want to help hold them afloat. We want to go into the juvenile detention center and teach art classes. We want to have workshops just for boys. We want to have workshops just for girls. We want to sit together in classes and draw each others faces. That is just our goal is to help bring up these teens through art," said Welch.

You can learn more about Ballast Art through their Facebook page.

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