CAMDEN — “Finding Our Voices” comes back in March to where it all started with a multi-media exhibit at the Camden Public Library, 55 Main St. Patrisha McLean began her movement to combat domestic violence with an initial photography exhibit at the library in 2019 that featured photo portraits of 14 Maine survivors. McLean’s work continues with a new photography exhibit portraying the faces and voices of Maine survivors.

The new exhibit, entitled “14 to 41: Three Years Later,” features photo portraits of 41 Maine survivors, “standing proud and speaking loud,” including Governor Janet T. Mills. The initial exhibit by McLean in 2019 launched Finding Our Voices, a grassroots survivor-powered nonprofit that breaks the silence of domestic abuse and also provides sister-support.

The March 2022 exhibit features McLean’s photo portraits of survivors aged 18 to 81, along with documentation of the abuse the women endured. The display will include a map of Maine showing the more than 65 Maine towns where the project has posted displays. Domestic abuse has been destigmatized through the use of huge downtown business window banners. The banners feature photo portraits of survivors, along with quotes referencing the abuse they transcended, and resource information for the help that is available.

The exhibit’s partnering sponsor is First National Bank. Amplifying sponsors are Lucinda Watson, Viking Lumber, Cold Mountain Builders, Hannaford, Stephen and Helene Huyler, Micki and Jeff Colquhoun, and Jane and Scott Wolfe.

On March 22 at 6:30 p.m., the library hosts a Finding Our Voices “Survivors Speak” panel discussion on Zoom. Participants will hear from McLean and other survivors featured in the exhibit about their journeys and the work of the Finding Our Voices organization. Click here to register.

A public reception is planned for March 25, from 4 to 5:30 p.m. in the library’s Picker Room. Following the reception is a concert benefiting Finding Our Voices to be held at the Camden Opera House at 7:30 p.m. The show will feature indie pop duo Roan Yellowthorn with Shawn Strack and Jackie McLean, Patrisha’s daughter and one of the 41-plus survivors in the photography exhibit.

In 2021, Finding Our Voices won two national awards for “making a substantial positive impact on the lives of domestic violence victims and survivors,” and McLean was named one of 21 leaders for the 21st century by Women’s e-News. Finding Our Voices Survivor-powered outreach along with a school curriculum just went out to 100 Maine high school and tech schools. In the past year Finding Our Voices has donated $30,000 in emergency items and bill-paying to help women get out and stay out of dangerous relationships. The organization hosts weekly online sister-support groups as well as a monthly domestic violence book club. McLean also has a WERU-FM radio show and podcast featuring conversations with survivors of domestic abuse.

Learn more about the exhibit and the related events by visiting librarycamden.org. For more information about Finding Our Voices, visit findingourvoices.net or email McLean at hello@findingourvoices.net.

Survivors Mia and Gloria holding “Finding Our Voices” banners featuring their portraits. Photo courtesy Patrisha McLean