Along with an audio play opening this week, The Empty Space also aims to brighten people's days virtually with an ongoing art exhibit. Victoria Olmos' "You Are Not Alone" is on display in the theater's virtual gallery.

The series of 18 works is a celebration of the journey of healing in the aftermath of assault.

Olmos wrote in an email, "It is a reminder of the reality far too many have to live with; while also letting those people know that with time, love, and support, things can get better.

"It would be all too easy to make art depicting the pain itself, but that's not what I wanted for this art exhibit. I wanted this to be uplifting for those who are currently or have gone through this struggle, while bringing awareness to this issue to others."

Creating the pieces required her to confront her feelings again about her past experiences but she said she was able to put those emotions to better use.

She wrote, "This art helped me to re-categorize some of the memories and the pain, while also being a helpful reflection of how far I've come since then, despite what happened in the past."

Olmos, 26, has been drawing since the fifth grade. Having exhibited her work as part of Empty Space art shows at its theater gallery and its space at Eureka!, this is her first solo show. 

She said, given the personal and vulnerable nature of the exhibit, she was both excited and nervous to share her work.

"I'm extremely grateful to The Empty Space theater not only for allowing me the opportunity to showcase my art, but for both the theater and the wonderful people inside it being a big part of my own healing process over the years."

The piece “You Contain a Universe Inside" depicts a woman dancing in a folklorico dress seemingly made of stars and space.

Of the painting, she wrote, "I am very proud and open about the beauty of my Mexican heritage and wanted to show how that culture is as intrinsic to me as the journey I've gone through because of my experiences."

Just as folklorico is seen as a connection from past cultures of Mexico to the present, Olmos said the exhibit is a connection of past experiences and pain to the present. But she doesn't want to focus on the negative in her art.

"There is so much more to a person than their trauma, which can be hard for a person going through such experiences. So this work also serves as a reminder of the vast amount of innate beauty, strength, and worth they have, outside of what they have gone through."

Olmos said she believes in her show's title, that while it might be easy to isolate yourself as you struggle to heal, you can find love and support from people around you that will allow you to grow and bloom.

"All in all, I want people to have hope, to be encouraged that things and will get better. For those who are struggling to not give up. For others, to be understanding and reach out to those who are hurting.

"We all need to work towards opening discussion on how pervasive rape culture and harassment still is. All while also creating safe environments for survivors to open up about their experiences and to hopefully begin their own journeys of healing."

"You Are Not Alone" can be viewed online through Aug. 8 at esonline.org/artgallery.

Stefani Dias can be reached at 661-395-7488. Follow her on Twitter at @realstefanidias.

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