Awakenings would be so lost without our interns! This year we were blessed with such a determined, innovative, and committed group of students. This past summer, Ysa, Kate, and Jimin all worked tirelessly to help our team run smoothly. They elevated our social media, graphic design, and literary magazine to new heights and every single one of them stayed past their internship ending to make sure they saw their projects through to the end. And Jimin is still here – more than six months later! At Awakenings, our interns teach us – how to improve, how to grow, and how to laugh more often.

Laura Kinter

Executive Director

Question: What are your mediums of artistic expression?

Kate: I went to school for Journalism and have mainly expressed myself through creative writing. I was so lucky to have the opportunity to expand my horizons and artistic growth by being exhibited at Awakenings where I collaborated on a multi-media piece using homemade paper and digital designs that we printed.

Ysa: I don’t do a lot of visual art these days, I mainly just write!

Jimin: I use computer programs for my mediums of artistic expression, especially adobe Photoshop, InDesign and illustrator. I mainly work digitally, yet I also enjoy working on sketches, paintings, and sculptures.

Q: How has art impacted your healing journey?

Jimin: Art has impacted a lot on my healing journey. I think art is a tool for all people to gather and organize ideas that they want to express about surroundings. In my case, I am currently working on online comics that are based on my military experience in South Korea. It illustrates various situations about misogyny and toxic masculinity. Many people sympathize with it by leaving comments on my page.

Q: What do you hope people who see or experience your art walk away with?

Kate: I created the piece in the current gallery with my best friend and someone who has been extremely important to my healing process and to my life. As women and as survivors, we are our own first line of defense and we were one another’s fiercest supporters and champions throughout our healing process. I hope that when people encounter the piece, they see the same message of solidarity and female friendship that we wanted to convey. The piece conveys the very real way both of us healed in response to our trauma and I hope that feeling of love and warmth that I always felt with my friend and my community.

Ysa: Though I haven’t shared my writing through Awakenings, I hope that those who have read the most recent literary issue can feel the love and dedication I (and the rest of the literary team!) put into selecting the pieces and creating the final product!

Jimin: I want people to concentrate on their first impression when they see my works walk away with. I love to see reactions from people whether they like mine or not. I want people to be honest with their thoughts and feelings.

Q: What has your connection to/relationship with Awakenings been like? 

Ysa: Even though I was specificallly a literary intern, I still had the chance to engage with the visual art side of Awakenings and I enjoyed that just as much as working on the literary magazine! Hearing the stories behind every art piece, and even being given the opportunity to give a few tours served to remind me of how important it is to have a place like Awakenings, which amplifies the voices that truly need to be heard. 

Q: Why do you think the mission of Awakenings is important? How does making visible the artistic expression of survivors impact our community at large?

Ysa: While I think it is important to continue having conversations about sexual assault and abuse, and the underwhelming amount of concern and reform when it comes to these issues in our society, I think it is also incredibly essential to have a space where healing and hope are also a priority. I appreciate that while Awakenings encourages survivors to share their stories, the focus remains on inspiring healing and providing support.

Making visible the artistic expression of survivors allows for greater awareness in our community at large. With survivors’ voices being uplifted rather than suppressed, there can no longer be any reason for the members of our community to not pay attention and show their support. I also think that many people may find healing and inspiration in the art Awakenings’ promotes.  

Kate: Awakenings provides a healing space and advocate for survivors and is an accessible and impactful way for allies to get involved with this advocacy work. Art and the voices that Awakenings amplifies has such a special ability to speak truth to power and in the time we find ourselves in that truth needs to be heard.

Jimin: The mission of Awakenings, making visible the artistic expression of survivors, is important because many survivors tend to blame and hide due to the shame. By making visible the artistic expression of survivors including the experiences and emotions, the expertise of survivors can be bolstered, and construct the community as a supporter and the service provider. The survivors should be respected, and I think it is the responsibility of the community to help them recover.

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Kate Graham is a student, artist and wild women from Detroit, Michigan. She currently lives and writes in Chicago, Illinois where she recently graduated from DePaul University. She is passionate about truth, justice, social reform and West Wing.

Ysa Velez is currently pursuing her B.A. in Communication and M.A. in Digital Communication and Media Arts at DePaul University. In interning with the Awakenings’ literary team in summer 2019, she had the opportunity to play a part in promoting the amazing mission of Awakenings. When she’s not scrambling to write a last minute-paper, she is most likely curled up in bed with her nose in a Stephen King novel. 

Jimin Kim is a senior from the School of the Art Institute, primarily studying the visual communication design, and currently working as a graphic design intern in Awakenings.

Graphic Design for RECLAIM by Jimin Kim. Marketing Campaign for this exhibit by Kate Graham. 

Issue 9 of Awakened Voices brought to fruition in large part by Ysa Velez.