Our community art initiative I CAN WE CAN was launched in 2012 as a way to come together for a violence-free future, but can also be used as a way to express commitments to other positive change. For example, you can make an I CAN pledge about how you will stay connected with others while practicing social distancing. We invite you to make an I CAN commitment to whatever you feel is most needed for you at this time.
This project is about noticing what YOU can do to end interpersonal violence in all its forms (physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual). Your I CAN expression is a personal commitment, or pledge to yourself, of taking a step in creating your vision of what WE can accomplish if we all say “I CAN end violence.”
This project is dedicated to you. Your process is yours, and how you connect with yourself and explore your I CAN vision is up to you. Use this as “a window of time” to practice respecting your thoughts, feelings, needs and vision. The creation process offered here is not meant as a strict guideline, but as one possibility for finding your voice, embracing your I CAN and sharing it.
Whether the I CAN that comes to you seems “too small” to be important or seems “too big” to be possible, please try to trust that your ideas are just right. When you truly honor your heart, you can create a change that ripples out from you to those around you and to the community at large as part of a global change. Your I CAN, no matter how small or how big, is part of changing the world. Thank you for joining us in saying I CAN WE CAN end violence.
Gather whatever materials you might like to use to create. Face paint, makeup and washable markers can work well directly on your hand. Some people have also traced their hands on paper and written in the outline. Your choice of materials can be as creative as you like. If you’d like, have a camera, smart phone or other device easily accessible to take a picture of your I CAN.
We suggest setting aside a half-hour to a full hour, if possible, of uninterrupted time.
Experiencing this with a friend can be quite powerful. We welcome you to reach out and find an I CAN buddy with whom to do the project. Sharing each step of the process provides a sounding board of support.
1. Listening for I CAN
Would you like to be part of creating a world free of domestic violence and sexual assault? Listen for any I CANs that come to mind. You might notice them in your mind’s eye. You might notice them writing on paper, free flowing, trusting whatever comes out. All thoughts are welcome, even if they seem too small to matter or too big to be possible.
2. Creating I CAN
Now create your I CAN. Your hand is your canvas. Write on it with markers, lipstick, face paint or anything else you choose. Your I CAN could also be glued on or something you create and hold in the palm of your hand. You can also trace your hand on paper and create your I CAN in the outline.
3. Documenting I CAN
You can take a photo of your I CAN hand as your pledge to be part of ending abuse. Your I CAN hand could be against any background that you choose: colored paper, your face, blades of grass or whatever most powerfully expresses your commitment.
4. Joining WE CAN
There is an online gallery where you can post your I CAN hand and join the ripple of hands across the country that are rising up. Feel free to also share it via social media to welcome an ever-widening circle saying I CAN WE CAN end the violence.
Thank you for joining this movement of people coming together to collectively embrace I CAN!
Some types of face paint may be difficult to get off (especially red).
Sharpies and other permanent markers may stain your hand for several days unless you use alcohol to remove them.
If you’d like, think about the background you will use when photographing your hand while you’re creating.