A Message of Hope through Public Art 

© 2018 Michelle Jones Photography

What is the Open Buffalo Democracy Fellows Program? 

The Open Buffalo Democracy Fellows Program is an intensive, year long leadership development program designed to empower Buffalo residents with the skills and resources required to drive organizations and institutions toward equity, inclusion, and long-term systems change. Democracy Fellows receive in-class instruction on a  myriad of community-based skills and working directly in the community to develop a community-based project presented at the end of the fellowship. Examples of fellows project outcomes include policy reports, community programs, training modules, or artistic or documentary videos to help create lasting impact in Buffalo. 


Michelle Jones is in the inaugural class of Democracy Fellows Program. Through shared stories, photography, and technology she is able to take a closer look at domestic violence here in Buffalo, NY. She chose to zoom in on each participant  when taking their photo. This was done to show the magnitude of being in proximity with someone and not being aware of what they may be going through. The purpose of this project is to bring an increased awareness to domestic violence and  ultimately spread a message of hope to others through Public Art. Open Buffalo has afforded me the opportunity to gain a better understanding of how to create change starting with my own community. Through a series of workshops, I have been able to connect with the Buffalo community in listening to their personal stories, utilizing their voices as a platform for support and awareness to such an important issue. While connecting with the community I have been able to share with so many others the opportunities and resources that Open Buffalo has to offer, creating a pipeline for future change agents. 


Domestic violence  is a pattern of behaviors used by one partner to maintain power and control over another partner in an intimate relationship. 

Domestic violence is an epidemic affecting individuals in every community, regardless of age, economic status, sexual orientation, gender, race, religion, or nationality. It is often accompanied by emotionally abusive and controlling behavior that is only a fraction of a systematic pattern of dominance and control.  

This is a project sponsored by Open Buffalo


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