The Morris County Arts Workshop (MCAW) in Chester is channeling their creativity and compassion into a project to pay tribute to those who are suffering in the aftermath of the shooting in Newtown, Conn.
Jane Shatz, director of MCAW has organized a tealight tribute to the children of Newtown. MCAW is dedicated to making arts participation an integral part of everyday life. The goal of this project for the people of Newtown is for the community to come together to share their grief, as well as wishes for healing and peace.
"This is something we can do. From one community to another," Shatz said. "That is what the soul of it is."
During MCAW’s Thursday night fundraiser at their new storefront at the Chester Springs Shopping center, guests were invited to light a (flameless) tealight for the children and families affected. Moreover, the community was encouraged to bring cards, letters, and wishes for the healing of the Newtown community.
According Shatz, all of the notes and letters will be bound into a book and sent to the families of Sandy Hook Elementary School.
"Who knows, maybe it will become a source of strength for them," Shatz said.
MCAW has been at the center of compassionate works for quite some time. Shatz herself was involved in making an origami crane display to pay tribute to those who lost their lives in tsunami disaster in Japan.
"I am not an artist," Shatz said. "But that piece helped resolve a painful event."
Recently, MCAW has been collecting origami angels for Sarah Stover, a 14-year-old girl battling cancer.
"We pay tribute to those who are suffering," Shatz said.
After the shooting in Newtown, Shatz said the staff at MCAW looked funnel their helplessness into something productive.
"We were sitting around and thought, 'what could we do?" Shatz said.
Shatz said that people began coming in before the fundraiser to drop off notes for Newtown.
"The goal is for us to collect as many as we can," Shatz said. "We will compile all of the notes in a book and will try to make a book for everyone who lost a loved one."
for her part, Shatz believes the project helps more than just the intended recepients.
"This is something we can share from our community to theirs," Shatz said. "It helps us because it allows us to express ourselves. If we don't express the powerful emotions we feel, it can become dangerous. We are here for that. We can help each other."
Those who want to add their notes to the collection can contact MCAW on their website.