Local Businesses Invited to Take Part in September Strength in Pride Art Walk

The Blue Ridge Pride Business Alliance is partnering with photographer Lauren Merrell and Youth OUTRight to bring local businesses a unique opportunity. They are invited to become a Strength in Pride Art Walk Exhibitor for the month of September. It is a chance to stimulate foot traffic, educate the public, and support a local non-profit that serves LGBTQ youth.

Credit: Lauren Merrell
Credit: Lauren Merrell

During June of this year, #StrengthinPride shared the pain and joy of being LGBTQ – as experienced by 33 members of our local community.  Each day featured a new life.  The Blue Ridge Pride Business Alliance team seeks to give further exposure to this exhibition while bringing more traffic to area businesses.  Says Business Alliance Director Chris Tinkler, “These portraits artfully express the the pain, the joy, and the humanity of people who consider themselves LGBTQ. We want to give them as wide a showing as possible.  Rather than stick them in a single gallery, we thought, ‘why not spread them across the community that we all call home?'”

The goal of the project is to install all 33 exhibits around the Asheville community and to encourage people to visit them.  The team plans to promote participating businesses and organizations and to offer a map and a guide.

Participating is easy:

  1. A business or organization that wishes to display an exhibit is simply asked to cover the production costs.  The portraits will be produced on framed, 11×16 museum-quality paper.  A team will help to install the exhibit at the end of August. (Click button below.)
  2. Businesses will display their exhibit in their store or building for the entire month of September – the month of the upcoming Blue Ridge Pride Festival.  They will be featured in a Strength in Pride Tour Guide and Map and on Blue Ridge Pride’s website and social media posts.  They will also be featured at the festival.
  3. At the end of the month, the exhibits will be gathered and the entire series auctioned.  All auction proceeds will benefit Youth OUTRight.

Mr. Tinkler is excited by this project.  “This is exactly what our Business Alliance Program is all about: working together to lift up both our community and our local businesses.”

“But,” adds the project founder, Lauren Merrell, “people need to act quickly.  We need to give our printers and installers sufficient lead time. We hope to get orders placed by August 15.

Please join us.   Project Home Page | Order Form

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Mental Health Providers

Eric Davis  MS, LCPA, NCC, Counselor

Willow Wellness and Recovery, PC 9 All Souls Crescent  Suite B, Asheville, North Carolina 28803  Phone: (828) 490-4137 | Website I am a firm believer in empowerment and self-determination. In the past, I have worked well with folks experiencing a range of issues, such as anxiety, depression, substance-use, sleep disturbances, relationship issues, and issues unique to the LGBT community.

Scott Thomas,  Licensed Professional Counselor, MA, LPC, LCAS

Silver Lining Therapy 70 Woodfin Place  STE 21, Asheville, North Carolina 28801  Phone: (828) 705-3084 | Website I believe humor can be a powerful tool for healing and seek to incorporate this into our time together. Unique to my practice is an approach that truly puts you at the center of the counseling experience, and I draw from a wide variety of techniques to help you see and experience real change in your life. To see if therapy might be a good fit, I offer free phone consultations.

James Harrison, PhD Psychologist

12 Westridge Dr , Asheville, North Carolina 28803  Phone: (828) 348-6300 | Website I enjoy helping people achieve physical and emotional intimacy whether they are young or old, straight or gay, in healthy, responsible, and mutually affirming ways. I also enjoy helping people improve their earning and manage their assets. And I like working with older people. I offer free phone consultations.

Judy Maris, Counselor, LPC, LCPC, MA, MS

Maris Psychotherapy 41 Clayton St, Suite 301, Asheville, North Carolina 28801  Phone: (828) 537-4489 | Website We can explore troublesome patterns that tend to repeat themselves in your life or look at new issues that have just come up. The important thing is for us to work together to get to the bottom of your difficulties and resolve them. I will assist you in becoming more aware of what you are feeling and thinking in the present moment. The untapped wisdom within you is a powerful healing force. Let me help you gain access to your full inner resources. I offer free phone consultations.

Elizabeth Heaney, Counselor, MA, LPC 

166 E Chestnut Street, Asheville, North Carolina 28801  Phone: (520) 447-3319 | Website I work with individual adults with concerns like: family history issues, relationship concerns, life satisfaction issues (related to jobs, living situations or relationships), anxiety and depression. I’ve had a particular focus on working with couples, addressing every aspect of relationship challenges – relationship dissatisfaction/boredom, affairs, sexual/intimacy issues, etc. And I was a civilian counselor on military bases for several years, so I have a clear understanding of the unique pressures and challenges facing service members and families. I offer free phone consultations.

Siljoy Maurer

Holistic Perspectives P.O. Box 333, Enka, NC 2872  Phone: (828) 333-0103  | siljoy@me.com or  www.HolisticPerspectives.com For many years now I have been mentoring men and women from all walks of life. It continues to be my greatest joy to accompany someone from “just being ok” into thriving! As a Mentor & Healer I partner with my clients in creating authenticity, wellness and deep contentment, in whatever area of their lives they are seeking change. The combination of giving very practical, livable tools for direct “next steps” while “holding the big picture” and then manifesting that big picture often feels like this: a new client brings me their life or life situation in a jigsaw puzzle box, they lost the lid and forgot what the picture on it looked like. I am good at knowing that picture and then guiding my clients/mentees to put all the puzzle pieces together.  

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