Become a Strength in Pride Art Walk Exhibitor

Bring people into your business. Educate the public. Support our community.

The Blue Ridge Pride Business Alliance is partnering with photographer Lauren Merrell and Youth OUTRight to bring local businesses a unique opportunity this September.
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.

We want to bring these stories to life in Asheville and Western North Carolina.  We want to install these exhibits across the community and to encourage people to visit them.  Participating is easy:

  1. Pay the production costs for one of the Strength in Pride series. (Click button below.)
  2. Display it in your store or building for the entire month of September – the month of our upcoming Blue Ridge Pride Festival.  You will be featured in our Strength in Pride Walking Tour Guide and Map and on our website and social media posts.
  3. At the end of the month, we will gather the entire series and auction it off.  All auction proceeds will benefit Youth OUTRight. (If you want to keep the exhibit, you will have an option to purchase it.)

This project is what our Business Alliance Program is all about: Working together to lift up both our community and our local businesses.  Please join us.  [Deadline: August 15!]

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The Partners

The Blue Ridge Pride Business Alliance has a simple goal:  To uplift local business while encouraging local businesses to uplift our community. We believe that, by working together, everyone can win.

Credit: Lauren Merrell

A social impact series created by editorial and commercial photographer Lauren Merrell to combat the stigma’s surrounding the LGBTQ2+ community and celebrate each individual in their authenticity.

​Mission ​

  • To tell the stories of pain, frustration, anger, hope, survival, strength and Introspection in our LGBTQ2+ family
  • ​To create a safe place in our international community that inspires courage, promotes healing, and empowers us to be our authentic selves.
  • ​To connect others to the stories of these amazing people and give those participating a voice that can be seen and heard. 
  • ​To inspire humanity and compassion in people all over the world. Invoking pause and reflection on how we treat one another and the impact our words and actions truly have.

Links: Strength in Pride Project | FacebookInstagram (Photos and Videos)

Youth OUTright’s mission is to create a world in which all LGBTQIA+ youth are supported to reach their fullest potential. We cultivate Resilience, Compassion, and Confidence in the youth community and engage in intersectional and intergenerational dialogue with particular focus on Gender & Racial Justice. Our work includes direct services, technical assistance for youth serving organizations, and advocacy for local, state and federal policy that protects LGBTQIA+ youth.

  • Lauren Merrell, Project Founder and Director [email]
  • Chris Tinkler, Business Alliance Program Director [email]

Additional Information

Series 12-33 $405
Series 6-11 $540
Series 1 $930
Series 2-5 $665
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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  | or 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.  

Community & User Requests / Feedback

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MailPO Box 2044, Asheville NC 28802-2044

Packages: 33 Coxe Avenue, Unit 2044, Asheville NC 28801 (note different zip code).

Phone: 828-423-0655 (via Google Voice)

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