The following article appeared in the April 26 editions of the Wheeling Intelligencer and News-Register and are reposted here with permission.
WHEELING – YWCA Wheeling and West Liberty University art students have partnered to tell the stories of crime victims through mannequins and QR codes. Participating students are majors in Creative Arts Therapy, Art Education, Studio Art, Visual Communications, Graphic Design and/or Illustration.
This week is National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, and 12 mannequins crafted by the students have been placed at locations in downtown Wheeling, Marshall County and Wetzel County. Alongside each mannequin is an information card containing a QR code, which permits the visitor to access crime statistic information through their smartphone.
The intention is that the visitor should walk away blown away by the staggering number of crimes that happen in the areas of domestic violence, hate crimes, addiction and human trafficking, explained Ron Scott, cultural diversity and community outreach director at YWCA Wheeling.
The mannequins can be found in Wheeling at the Public Market, WesBanco Arena, River City Restaurant, and Mug Shots coffee shop. In Marshall County, they are located at the Mound Museum, the Four Seasons Pool, P.J.’s PIzza in Glen Dale and the DiCarlo’s Pizza in Moundsville. Two have also been placed at the courthouse in Wetzel County, as well as at P.J.’s Pizza and DiCarlo’s Pizza shops in New Martinsville.
Scott said WLU has a major in Creative Arts Therapy, and students expressed that they couldn’t wait to get involved with the project.
Ron Scott, cultural diversity and community outreach director at YWCA Wheeling, begins to lay the path for “A Victim’s Journey,” an informational tour set up this week inside the Public Market in Wheeling.
One of the mannequins, which depicts substance abuse addiction, has written across its face, “please rescue me.” Another addressing the issue of domestic violence shows the victim as an angel adorned in burlap and flowers.
“We wanted them to make impactful pieces that also brought awareness,” Scott explained.
He hopes visitors access the QR Code information containing crime statistics to get a feel of the impact these crimes have on society.
“It’s all about awareness to me,” Scott continued. “There are statistics involved in all these crimes, and there is frequency.
“You begin to identify these as a problem, instead of one of these one-off instances that just happen.”
Scott’s recent projects at the YWCA have focused on public interaction rather than just a presentation of information about ills affecting society. Recently, he has been organizing escape rooms, where visitors can participate to experience historical incidents.
He hopes the mannequins can help bring personal awareness of what many humans experience as a result of criminal mistreatment.
“I hope people begin to think of a victim of a crime as not a far-off thing, completely separate from you or me,” he said. “It can potentially be anybody that you know, and it is your duty to make sure it’s not you or the people around you.”
The mannequins are on display throughout this week, but Scott says the YWCA may organize another event with the mannequins so more people can experience them.
EDITOR’s NOTE: Students who participated include: Aley Panepucci, Jamie Daugherty, Haley McClain, Josie Carmichael, Jaxxie Marcum, Makenna Klarr, Angelica Rogers, Katie Zoellers, Lilianna Hardt, Sierra Stevens and Erin Yakesh.