My husband is lobbying me to donate the dress and scrap the idea of these artworks. His point is that if I want to honor Shayna’s fondness for this wedding dress, what better way than to see that it is used for that which it was intended. Sure, he says, I could donate it to Goodwill but how about the Brides Project in Ann Arbor, Michigan?
From their website: The Brides Project (TBP) opened in September 2011. TBP is a fundraising initiative of the Cancer Support Community. This unique project is staffed by volunteers and dedicated to raising funds for free programs for families impacted by cancer at the Cancer Support Community (CSC) of Greater Ann Arbor through the sale of donated bridal gowns. Once-worn gowns donated by brides or unsold gowns donated by bridal shops are available for brides-to-be to purchase at a considerable savings. All profits from the sale of the gowns go to the CSC to support programs and services for people touched by cancer.
The inspiration to start the Brides Project came from Helen Sweet, who started The Brides Project in Canada. She graciously allowed CSC to take this idea to the United States.
Then my dear husband asks me if I am comfortable with memorializing the life of someone who spent so much time on the shady side of the law. You know, I have given this a lot of thought since I saw those court records. The feelings and motivations I had when I first learned the details of this wedding dress have not changed. The fact remains that this dress was precious to Shayna Swann. She intended to wear it to start a new chapter in her life. That still presents a strong motivation for me.
I think that I can create some beautiful and thought provoking works without sensationalizing a persons’ death or glorifying how she lived her life. But then, humility is not one of my strengths.