Our Artprize Info

Our Artprize voting ID is 44791

Location: Our entry will be the *entire* Grand Rapids Press parking lot found at:
155 Michigan Street NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49503

Our Artprize Information Page: http://www.artprize.org/artists/public-profile/49598

The Meaning Behind the Madness

You may have noticed, been mystified, enthralled (or even annoyed) by our endless stream of ArtPrize promos and posts. Why is this so important to us? You know we love art & ArtPrize & probably you are nonplussed about our connection to Circus or even SteamPunk… but there is a more important reason why we are doing this & though we are usually not comfortable talking about “What It Means’ we realize that in order to get the message out we need to talk about, well, what it means…

  • 34,598 suicides were reported last year. Reported.
  • Among young people it is the third leading cause of death
  • A nationwide survey of youth in grades 9-12 found that 15% of students reported seriously considering suicide.-Many more young people survive suicide attempts than actually die. Most go unreported.
  • -11% reported creating a plan & 7% reporting trying to take their own life in the previous 12 months
  • Each year, approximately 149,000 youth between the ages of 10 & 24 receive medical care for self-inflicted injuries at Emergency Departments across the U.S.
  • It’s estimated that one in every 200 girls between 13 & 19 years old, or one-half of one percent, cut themselves regularly.
  • Those who cut comprise about 70 percent of teen girls who self injure.
  • This does not include statistics for ‘scratchers’, ‘self bruisers’, etc.
  • A report of child abuse is made every ten seconds.-Almost five children die everyday as a result of child abuse. More than three out of four are under the age of 4.
  • -It is estimated that between 60-85% of child fatalities due to maltreatment are not recorded as such on death certificates.

We could go on… It is our belief that Mental Health issues are at the heart of the cause & the effect of all of these things that affect our young people. Affect us. All of us… The seven of us doing Cirque Acirca have had very different lives but we have all been personally affected by suicide, abuse, self/substance abuse & Mental Illness of every kind & probably, so have you. We are the lucky ones. Each of us has found our own ‘Circus’. A reason to Live, to Laugh, & to Love… & that is our message.

Through art, performance, sculpture, music, fashion, circus arts & more we hope to take this message to young people & show them that they are not alone, there is a way out & mostly to tell our own stories along with hundreds of others (yours) as we Live, Laugh & Love… This also happens to be the Mission of our friends at the Mental Health Foundation of West Michigan. We are happy to announce that we are partnering with the Mental Health Foundation of West Michigan to bring this serious message to ArtPrize in a circus filled with Life, Laughter &, most of all, Love. Christy Buck & her crew of scalawags have caught the SteamPunk Spirit & have run a way to join the circus… Our circus. We couldn’t be luckier, happier & prouder.

How can you help us? -

  • Please visit our websites as well as our friends at Mental Health Foundation of West Michigan. http://cirqueacirca.com/ or http://mhf.publishpath.com/
  • -Please join/like/add us on Facebook (Cirque Acirca) or follow us on Twitter (CirqueAcirca) -Please help us ‘Shoulder the LOVE’ by donating five dollars or more. In exchange, you will get a LOVE Tattoo and we then ask you to put it on and photograph yourself and send it or post it on your site and ours… It doesn’t have to be on your shoulder but please remember this is for impressionable young people (like ourselves)
  • -Please send us People, Time & Money (We have lawyers & guns – Thank you Jim Burr)

PEOPLE – We need volunteers to help paint & build, we need performers & cosplayers to help by wearing SteamPunk Circus outfits & becoming a part of our scene. We need people to share their stories & share what their ‘Circus’ is to them. We need people who live too far away, or are too famous or are just true believers to wear our ‘LOVE’ ambigram tattoo & show their support by shouldering the LOVE or by writing LOVE on their arm (TWLOHA another fine organization that we also support) & sending us a picture. We need young people who get it, to share and tell it like we old farts can’t, though try we might…

TIME – We can’t control time (yet) but we can make the next thirty days of madness seem easier by adding the time of PEOPLE like you. Please VOLUNTEER. Please TALK US UP on FaceBook. LIKE us. TWEET us & stretch time by making many people’s time part of our time. Please support us so that we can purchase things we would have otherwise have had to beg, borrow or steal (& we would). Also help us by making it possible for the circus to live way beyond ArtPrize & support our efforts to make this a permanent organization & ongoing mission that supports our friends at Mental Health Foundation of West Michigan & the many others who share our mission & who share their Time.

MONEY – This is not simply our dream or our entry into a big contest. It is a bully pulpit to share with hundreds of thousands of people our stories & yours. Yes, yours. It is a way to help raise awareness & funds for our non-profit partners & it is also so personal to each of us in ways we will share in the upcoming days. Several hundred artists have already given up their ArtPrize dream for lack of support & funding. This is not an option for us. It is too important. The Sixth Street Bridge depicted on our mural (Flooral?) has been called Suicide Bridge & Lover’s Leap. As late as June 18, a young man completed his suicide from that very spot a scant few feet from our venue. The clock not only depicts the urgency of time ticking but is the old & beautiful City Hall clock, another place that many have ended their lives. We will not only have performances but events to raise awareness, a vigil on the Eve of ‘Out Of The Darkness’ a national walk for suicide prevention. We will have events for National Mental Illness Awareness Week (Oct. 3-9) & much more besides our music & circus performances. We knew this would be a huge undertaking when we entered & it has grown & grown.

Many have come forward to help but we need more, & so if you or someone you know has been touched by our efforts to get our message out please go to our sites & donate either to Cirque Acirca to help us build & perform or go to Mental Health Foundation & donate directly to their cause. We hope everyone will at least do the tattoo thing & help us go viral.  We are asking your help because our cause is bigger than our art & only as big as your heart. As for going home… Not an option. The Circus is our home. We hope it will be yours too.