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Guild member's beadwork fights 'heartbreaking' crime

Artist's income from Nov. 9-11 sale will help Gracehaven; event benefits community center

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There's a simple reason Tish Krajnak plans to donate the proceeds from the sale of her beadwork at the Clintonville Arts Guild's annual holiday show to an organization that addresses the issue of child sex trafficking.

"I have a daughter, and as I learn about the ages of these girls and just ... the mentality that girls are treated with ... " the Clintonville woman said last week, trailing off in mid-sentence.

"It was just too close to home," she added after a moment.

The thought of girls falling under the control of men who have a mentality of "people being disposable, women being disposable" was too jarring for Krajnak to contemplate.

"I didn't have to worry about this when I was a kid," she said. "When you think of girls being targeted as young as 11, it was just too heartbreaking."

The 2012 Clintonville Arts Guild Holiday Show and Sale is scheduled for Nov. 9-11 at the Whetstone Community Center, 3923 N. High St. The hours are 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 5:45 p.m. Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday.

Krajnak, who has lived in Clintonville for more than 23 years, creates mostly bead-woven jewelry, but she also will have some beaded Christmas ornaments for sale.

Those sales will benefit Gracehaven, a Dublin-based nonprofit organization founded in 2008 with the purpose of opening a residential facility for the victims of child sex trafficking.

"We exist not only to expose the reality of child sex trafficking in Ohio, but also to tangibly help those who have been victimized by child sex trafficking," Gracehaven's website states. "Once open, we will add 10 beds to the total of approximately 120 beds in the United States for child sex trafficking victims ... Currently, there are no specialized beds for victims of child sex trafficking in Ohio. We will accept girls under the age of 18 who are victims of child sex trafficking regardless of their religion, sexual orientation or ethnicity. We only ask one requirement: that they are ready to enter a rehabilitation program."

While several organizations, including the Salvation Army, Doma International and the Central Ohio Rescue and Restore Coalition, help victims of human trafficking on a long-term basis, there is a critical shortage of emergency shelter, said Columbus police Lt. Mark E. Lang.

"That's our biggest challenge," said Lang, director of the Central Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force, in a discussion with a group of local Block Watch coordinators.

Krajnak is in her third year as a member of the Clintonville Arts Guild.

"I was beading many years before that," she said, the result of taking a class by chance. "I really liked it and kind of got addicted."

About a year and a half ago, Krajnak began to seek a worthwhile cause to benefit from the sale of her beadwork. She said she's fortunate enough not to have to work outside the home and doesn't need the income her passion for beading could produce. In speaking with friends, someone suggested Gracehaven.

She found out about the organization by exploring its website, launched by Dr. Jeff Barrows of Bellefontaine.

"It was definitely an eye-opener for me, not realizing that human trafficking was here in Ohio," Krajnak said.

She liked the fact that Gracehaven is a faith-based organization. On her third visit to the website, gracehaven.me/gracehaven, Krajnak came across a page that lists the board of directors "and noticed some names I was familiar with, and I knew I could trust the organization."

Krajnak isn't the only arts guild member who will display her wares at the Nov. 9-11 sale.

"Guild members create artwork for every taste and budget," said Chris Kramer, spokeswoman for the guild, which was founded in 1972. "Locally crafted jewelry, paintings of all sizes, limited edition lithographs, wearable art, carved and turned wood, fiber art, felt sculptures, holiday ornaments, ceramics, fused glass, hand-painted silk, fine-art photography, hand-painted bags, tie-dyed bamboo wearables, fine art and clocks are among the items that will be featured at the show."

Admission is free and door prizes will be donated by the artists.

In addition, Kramer said 10 percent of proceeds from sales will benefit the Whetstone Community Center.

"Last year, the guild donated over $1,900 to the community center from the sale and is hoping to increase that amount again this year," Kramer wrote in a press release.

Nine new artists are participating in this year's show. "We should have a really nice range of items," Kramer said.

The guild's purpose is "to promote the visual arts within the Clintonville community and to create a stimulating, encouraging and supportive environment in which local artists and craftspeople can share both their ideas and their passion for the arts," according to the nonprofit organization's website.

The guild also hosts several member exhibitions each year in area galleries and provides a yearly scholarship for a local high school student who plans to major in art.

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