Travis County District Attorney Unveils Collaborative Art Project Honoring Sexual Assault Survivors

Travis County District Attorney Unveils Collaborative Art Project Honoring Sexual Assault Survivors

Travis County District Attorney José Garza hosted an event on January 20, 2024, inviting the community to actively participate in the creation of a Remembrance Space dedicated to honoring the courage of sexual assault survivors. During this interactive event, survivors, advocates, and allies collaborated with artist Dianne Sonnenberg to design individual art pieces. These creations will be incorporated into a larger mosaic to be installed at the District Attorney’s offices later this year.

Reforms and Healing: A Journey from Lawsuit to Art Project

In June 2021, Travis County settled a groundbreaking lawsuit filed by sexual assault survivors against former District Attorneys and local government officials, alleging failures in handling sexual assault cases between 2006 and 2019. The settlement committed the Travis County District Attorney’s Office, now led by José Garza, to implement significant reforms and policy changes to improve the treatment of sexual assault survivors within the criminal justice system.

As part of this commitment, the Sexual Assault Community Advisory Board was formed in March 2022. Travis County DA José Garza announced the board’s members, consisting of survivors, community advocates, and experts overseeing the implementation of reforms. Notable achievements include increased convictions, policy changes, expanded resources for victims, and enhanced staff training.

A crucial condition of the settlement was the creation of a physical space to honor sexual assault survivors within the District Attorney’s Office. In response, an art project was initiated in November 2022, leading to the selection of artist Dianne Sonnenberg in February 2023. The Remembrance Space Project, a 3 ft x 5 ft interactive art piece, will be installed at the Ronald Earle Building in Austin, Texas, later this year.

“Our office is grateful to the survivors who contributed to the Remembrance Space Art Project, which commemorates their struggles and honors their courage,” said Travis County District Attorney Garza. “We hope this process contributed to their healing experience and that their art piece symbolizes their strength to fight for reforms. The final mosaic installed in our office building will serve as a permanent reminder to everyone in our criminal justice system to pursue justice for all survivors of sexual assault.”

“I am honored to collaborate with Travis County and this group of survivors and allies on this important artwork,” said Remembrance Space Interactive Art Piece Artist Dianne Sonnenberg. “Many hands working together have great power, and this finished work of art will become much more than the sum of its parts. Together, we will create a beautiful and empowering Remembrance piece that I hope will inspire people for years to come.”