My desire to participate in this performance art/photograph stems from my relationship with nature. Solitude in nature has been the single most powerful teacher and healer in my life. Over the past few years I have spent an extensive time in solitude in the forests of Northeast Ohio after an unexpected loss of a pregnancy that I experienced during the fall of 2015. The only place that I felt safe to be still and cry out loud was in the forest. Nature has always been one of my only places of refuge for as far as I can remember.

 

The symbolism of the setting and theme of this photograph touches my heart in many ways. I feel a sensitivity towards the timing of the photo occurring at the same time as the Republican National Convention that to me speaks for a voice that often is unheard or attempted to be silenced. This voice is that of the importance of both women and nature in today’s atmosphere. I am thrilled that this shoot is happening and I think that having a smaller selection of subjects allows somewhat of a stronger voice in the lyric of the piece.

 

I would love to be a part of this shoot because I find it to be empowering as a subjective experience. As I was reading the description and artist statements from an interview, I visualized the experience as if I placed myself in the photo and how I would feel. Having the experience in my mind may be different than in actuality as I have found in the past when working as a nude model for Kent State University in the fine arts department. What I have found in the past during revealing my body, is a mediation and greater realization of the self in many ways. I think that having the opportunity to participate in this shoot would be a very powerful experience for me and would be very proud to say that participated because I believe in this voice, the symbolism, in this lyric and in the statements provided by Spencer about the piece.

~Adrianne Garthoff

I have been involved in two of Spencer’s works before and it is invigorating and inspiring. I appreciate the way that he represents the human figure in a landscape, as if we are a natural part of our environment. In regards to the political season, I like the analogy of the mirrors reflecting back on us as we decide the future of our county and choose who will lead it. Each of us, the image in the mirror, has the potential to promote change and growth. In addition, as I experience my first pregnancy, I wish to look at my life and my choices with a long term approach to serving my children and the people that they will love. As a side note: I will be approximately 6 months pregnant at the time of this shoot.

~Anonymous

As a woman, I want to stand up for my reproductive rights. As a Hispanic, I want to be seen as a member of this community. As a first-generation American, I want to show that anyone deserves the opportunity to come here. As a young woman, I want to embrace my body and everyone else’s size and shape. As a human being, I want to stand up against Trump and other Republicans whose hateful speech towards women, immigrants, lgbt people, and all “others” is poisoning this nation.

 

Being a participant in Spencer’s installation allows women to be the medium, rather than the object. We are so often objectified in our society, being told our self worth is directly related to our appearance. The mirrors reflect the viewer and environment, a message of connection and statement of empowerment.

~Sofia Carrera

Let’s celebrate our uniqueness, our journeys, our strengths. Let our “weaknesses”, our “flaws”, become what motivates us and encourages us.

~Jennifer Davis

I’m a native Clevelander. I recently turned 50 and have been reflecting (no pun intended) on my life. I survived an abusive childhood, poverty, homelessness, and managed to achieve many of my life’s dreams. I had an abortion at 19 — it was legal and safe, a right that I see threatened by factions of politics and society. Despite having no children of my own, I’ve raised dozens of young women as their mentor, coach and, on occasion, their emergency bank for tuition and rent. I’ve transitioned from my maiden years through wise women, and stand at the cusp of my old crone-hood. I’m looking forward to this next part of my life.

~Lynn Bycko

Three reasons:

 

1. July 17th was the day my father passed away last year. Before he died, he made me promise never to wear black in mourning for him, so I will be strong and wear nothing instead to celebrate the anniversary of his return to Mother Nature.

 

2. I want my type of skin tone and body shape to be represented, one of full Filipino decent.

 

3. It took a long time, inner strength, and artistic enlightenment to get to a point where I have accepted and love myself like I do now. I would like to collaborate with Spencer to help other women find their own sacred femininity like I did.

~Diana Caramat

After Years of Sexual abuse as a child it took me a long time to see that my body is mine, beautiful, and part of this world. Though I’ve just come to know this artist and what he dose I want to help, because what he’s trying to make others see gives me hope.

~Anonymous

I very much appreciate and identify with the mission of this piece. On a political level, my participation will be in contrast to many republican ideals regarding the use of women’s bodies. My body. My body is mine and I choose how it is used, from abortion to posing nude publicly. On a personal level, I wish to experience public nudity. As a recent rape survivor, I struggle to form a positive relationship with my body and to be present with and in it versus reliving it’s past trauma. I hope that by trusting the fellow participants with my nudity and sharing in that vulnerability that I will grow closer to loving my body again. For what’s it’s capable of on every level. For it’s true cosmic nature.

~Melissa Kullman

I cannot think of a better way to protest the RNC, while also expressing my feminine power and devotion to our earth. After reading about the intent behind this project, I believe in its purpose and its symbolic and artistic value. I would be honored to be part of the collective process!

~Kathryn McFadden

I was recently sexually assaulted (for he third) time in my life .. It’s really been affecting me … The fact that this happens again … I’m dealing with a lot of shame and I don’t want to feel ashamed anymore – I want to set boundaries and not let others cross them but I also want to stand up and not be afraid to own my own body… I think participating in this will be a freeing experience for me.

~Anonymous

I used to be an fence sitting independent, who sometimes leant more conservative. I was raised Christian. I still am Christian but progressively liberal (egalitarian). People should be treated as equals and since the 2012 election the Republican Party has moved so far extreme right I cannot stand by idly without doing my part to educate and stand up to their racist, misogynistic, patriarchal, xenophobic ways. Their stance on wanting to remove birth control instead of making family planning at a low cost and accessible and also wanting to force women to have babies even under rape was the last straw for me. I have been the victim of date rape and attempted molestation – if those attacks would have been successful in which I became pregnant and would have been forced to carry them to term… I am disgusted to think of that even happening. Angry that any woman would be forced to have to carry something to term she doesn’t want and that they would withdraw family planning to prevent unwanted pregnancies and STDs under consensual terms…

 

So this neo-extrestrimeist conservative attitude towards women is everything I do not stand for as a Christian, as a female, and as a person fighting for equality.

 

As a woman, if I can use my body as a political statement as art for a peaceful protest I shall gladly do so. I am a Clevelander and gladly welcome this opportunity to display my female body as something that shouldn’t’ be shameful but beautiful and enlightening.

~Lisa Malanij

I would love to be an example not only to my daughters but other women and children on how we will prevail and are worth more than what the eye can see.

~Valen Brentson

I would like to participate in this specifically because I’m not supposed to. Today is my 47th birthday. That alone means, as far as society is concerned, I shouldn’t be nude outside the home. I’m also chubby – I’m 5 feet, three inches tall and 170 pounds. I shouldn’t be naked, says America. I’m a married lady and no one should see me in the buff besides my husband and my doctor, says the world.

 

I also wasn’t supposed to propose to my husband, but I did. Not only have we been married nearly 17 years, but two of my three siblings who trod a far more conventional, conservative path ended up divorced. So much for what’s “supposed” to happen. I bet no one expected me to become a DJ on my 30th birthday, but I did. I bet I looked odd among the other graduates back in 2009 as I, someone clearly old enough to be their mother, walked across the stage to pick up my college diploma.

 

Doing what you’re “supposed” to do doesn’t necessarily have a positive outcome, but doing the unexpected can sure be fun!

~Patty Marvel

I believe in the power of women, and the power of art to move the world toward a higher consciousness. I also wholeheartedly believe in the freedom of expression, of which this project is the epitome. I like the idea of the collective woman and the feminine energy being a force of nature.

~Darlene English

As an OB/GYN, I have devoted my life to women’s lives from birth to death. This is an awesome way to further support them.

~Betsy Patterson

I worked as an artist model in college, and ever since have appreciated the art and freedom of nudes, the liberation and serenity of accepting yourself as a form, light and shadows on a canvas or in a photograph. In art the female form can be enjoyed as an aesthetic, and it loses the weight and pressure of societal judgement . I would love to be a part of something that celebrates that freedom, and admire Mr. Tunick’s work.

~Taylor Shanower

I would like to participate in this amazing photo event because even more than I love art, I love the empowerment of women. I work in construction and have to dull down my femininity heavily because it’s a “man’s profession”. I am a mother of two boys and I try my best to teach them overall equality, and especially when it comes to all aspects of gender. Thank you for considering me!

~Krista Negron

Great social change occurs most commonly as first, a resistance to change, then, a large gathering of change, and finally, as the minority becomes ever so close to majority, appears a second resistance. America, today, stands at the barrier of this second resistance as triumphed through the inflammatory and ghastly words of Trump and many members of the GOP. This second resistance has incolcated a removal of tolerance in accordance to race, gender, and socio economic betterment. The anger felt by Americans unsure of where to exist in these changing times has resulted in lashing and bitter attacks on human rights. Thus, the answer comes: use art. Allow art to act as the communicator between the parties.

 

Degas once penned, “Art is not what you see, but what you make others see”. His subtle words beautifully encapture the purpose of exerpienced art, which most usefully acts as an impetus for change. Through the removal of our daily lens, our daily burdens, man is free to understand and therefore, empathize with the previously barred. And so, art transforms from a delicate form to a powerful teacher, reaching not just those who understand but those who are blinded by myopic views.

 

Essentially, I would love to participate in your truly incredible creation of art. I believe that through such actions, that even the most conservative minded can begin to understand that hate can never breed tolerance, and without tolerance, appears only stagnation.

~Nikita Dhami

Hello, I just read about this opportunity and had to submit my request to pose immediately! I have been wondering what I could possibly do during the convention here in Cleveland to make my voice shine in a way that created lasting ripples in peoples consciousness.

 

I would be honored to take part in your project on a personal level because I am a survivor of sexual abuse, rape and physical violence during childhood. I grew up living under the dominance and controlling nature of the men in my family system. I was suffocated, strangled and had knives thrown at me. I attended 16 schools by the tim I left in 10th grade. My first abuse began when i was 4 and ended when at 15 I was forced to give a child up for adoption who was a result of the sexual abuse.. After returning from the hospital he started up once more and something snapped in me and I never returned to live at home again.

 

Im not sharing this story for others to feel sorry for me, instead I would like to stand tall and tell others that they too can champion their lives while healing their heart, mind and body. I am wiser and more compassionate because of my trials and pain. It is the same pain i now call on when companioning others through their end of life. As an end-of-life doula I too can assist others through the fear that sometimes accompanies the unknown shadowed places within. I hold conversations within the community called exploring the heart of dying through courageous conversations during monthly meetings. Its a topic that helps us embrace our wholes lives more fully…

 

I cannot comprehend the wars that are being waged against women and the earth and i can see what i think is the connection in your project. I have recently stopped eating meat because its a way i can make a difference in honoring mother earth.

 

I would be honored to stand tall with other women, with feet planted firmly in the soil while reflecting the love that resides within us all.

 

Blessings and thank you for your heart-bone.

 

~Anonymous

I am a wife, mother, and medical professional who is passionate about showing women the love and support they are entitled to. In this country I am watching my fellow humans lose hope and self love on a daily basis. It must stop.

 

My daughter and her friends deserve to grow up in a world where they will have access to healthcare and strong support for thier life choices. I also want to show her that she can love her body with a fierce passion no matter what the media imposes on her.

 

I am proud of my mind, my body, and most of all my outspoken support for women’s rights.

~Nikki Montjoy