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A traveling exhibit of portraits and Stories. About People and for people.

The Wave of Hope is a traveling exhibit of portraits and stories from people who have been through some tough times in their lives and what they would say to someone who might be experiencing hard times right now. These are brave voices. They are setting the precedent of talking out loud. We are starting to break the silence that surrounds depression in the hopes of lessening the stigma.

Suicide can be physical, emotional or spiritual. Maybe you jump off a bridge, maybe you just curl up in a ball and cry alone or maybe you try to shut yourself off from love. Anyway you slice it, suicide is the part where you "check out". With that "checking out" can come hopelessness, fear and incredible loneliness. It sucks. The people in this show are setting an example of openess and honesty.

I chose the wave as our “symbol” because the analogies to life are endless. This particular wave is huge and crashing. But isn’t that how waves are? We see this in our lives over and over again in varying degrees – but when the damn thing gets fierce, we sometimes forget to back up, look at it, and see the whole picture. Life is beautiful, amazing, powerful, and, sometimes, scary. You are part of life. You are a wave in our ocean. We want you to see this wave and make it your own. And when you feel your life does a crash, we want you to look at that wave and see that your life is still magnificent. Even if you don't think so at the moment.


"Water is formless and shapeless and it can adapt to it's surroundings in order to survive. It can flow or it can crash. Be like a wave. Conform or break through the dam and break through the conformity when you need to. Sometimes you are little more than a dripping faucet and sometimes you are the tidal wave in your own life." - Michelle

"When you need to ride the wave, sometimes you don't know it is going to turn into a Tsunami. But ride it anyway because eventually it ends on the beach. No matter how scary, don't give up." - June

"When I feel like I'm being pulled under, I remind myself that, just like the tides, this will change. It always has, it will again." - Kirsten

"When I was very young I was a surfer in Redondo Beach 'The Seventh Wave' was a very popular saying in those days, there is no science or facts behind the saying but we always waited for the 'Seventh Wave', a Rogue Wave which was bigger and better than all the other waves. Taking and riding that wave was magical and powerful." - Sandi

"Having gotten older, I can see the crashing wave when it is crashing. I may be in the damn thing, but I've learned to hold my breath, swim (or tumble) to the beach and watch it resolve itself on the sand. When I'm safe, that's when I cry. But I cry for being safe and for the beauty of another day." - me

"The wave, like mom, knows best. When you are in the 'tube' you can’t fight the monster or she will crush you. She invited you in to 'the green room' for a reason. She will spit you out when you’re ready." - Gene

"If you stand up and jump into the wave it will lift you up. If you make yourself small, lay down or run, the wave will crush you and wash you away. Some people just need to know that you have to face the wave. Stand up….and jump." - Mary

"In the depths of despair there are random waves of hope that one must cling to, ride, and pray that the wave will lift you, and take you where you cannot take yourself. And the wave will lift you out of those depths of despair and into the light and refresh your spirit." - Diana

"People have no idea the magnitude of the wave until they are in the middle of it. What we all need to understand is that the force of the wave is beyond any human beings ability to stop all on their own." - Lisa

"I'm a little wave, but I'm still a wave. The big waves used to knock me down but I grew up on day and then they could no longer knock me down." - Joyce


Even if we don't know you, personally, we want you to know that you matter. We need each other, damnit! Welcome and please be a part of changing how we all see each other.

One wave at a time, baby, one wave at a time.

All Rights Reserved. "The Wave of Hope" registered Trademark of Sharon Dawson.