C5 Studios takes a stand against domestic violence

Kristina Blüm Justice
Staff Writer

As instances of domestic violence have skyrocketed both across the nation and within the granite walls of the Owens Valley, C5 Studios Community Art Center is preparing to host an art fundraiser for Wild Iris Family Crisis Center, to raise awareness of the issue and show support for the dedicated staff who have continued to fight domestic violence in Inyo and Mono counties in the face of a world in crisis.
“We decided to collaborate with Wild Iris because we know their case load has increased so much during this time,” said Erin Boehme, director of C5 studies. “Artists can contribute at this time through the beauty of their work, by gifting their artwork in order to support this cause not only for the survivors, but also for the workers at Wild Iris, to boost their morale and let them know we see how hard they’re working.”
Local artists are invited to donate works of art or craftsmanship to the auction. Artists and crafters have until Friday evening to donate.
The silent auction itself is scheduled to take place Oct. 16-18 at the C5 Studio, located behind Family Dollar, on Warren Street in Bishop. Doors open at 6 p.m. Friday, Oct. 16 by reservation and close at midnight on Sunday, Oct. 18, at midnight.
For the auction, bidders can make a reservation to come into the gallery for groups of up to ten people. Each group will have 30 minutes to enjoy the artwork and place their bids. For items that are receiving multiple bids, the auction will be made available online at c5studios.org for any last-minute bids.
Boehme said some artists who have already donated did work specifically for the fundraiser, featuring the wild iris flower, which is a local symbol of resilience. Others have donated everything from framed photographs to jewelry and sculpture.
Artists, whether they be visual artists, writers or musicians, play a vital role in society, Boehme said.
“We know artists are the people in society who help us process hard times as humans,” she said. “We really need our artists, poets, writers and musicians to step up and do that work. It’s a cycle of support going both ways. As a community center, our job at C5 is to connect our community in meaningful ways even as there’s so many things in the world that are dividing us.”
The artists of C5 Studio also have created an artistic rendering of the wild iris, which will be displayed in windows throughout Inyo and Mono counties to help raise awareness – which is the ultimate goal of the partnership between Wild Iris and C5, Boehme said.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Wild Iris has seen a drastic increase in its case load, of both male and female clients. If the trend continues, the organization expects to serve more than 1,000 people in Inyo and Mono counties this year.
“Both at Wild Iris and C5, we recognize that people don’t realize how serious these crises are,” Boehme said. “We were taken aback that people have no idea about this problem and how prevalent it is in Bishop or in Mammoth. Our crisis support center is barley keeping its head above water right now with the case load. This is a valuable thing for us to do. This is our way of saying you can do something meaningful and effective for your community right now.”
For more information about the event, visit C5Studios.org or call (760) 258-1059.
For more information about Wild Iris and how to help those in relationship crisis, visit wild-iris.org or call (760) 873-6601.
The local office of Wild Iris Family Counseling and Crisis Center is located at 150 N. Main St. in Bishop.
For help 24/7, call the agency’s hotline, (877) 873-7384.

Erin Boehme and Naomi Hart Johnson, C5 Studios founders and directors, show Dana Ellis’ “Wild Iris,” which will be part of upcoming Domestic Violence Awareness Art Show and Auction set for Oct. 16-18 and will benefit Wild Iris Family Crisis Center.
Photo courtesy C5 Studios