A large purple butterfly on the building’s front door greeted Newtown Bee employees on Friday, March 8, to honor Dylan Hockley, one of the student victims on 12/14, on what would have been his seventh birthday.
Both HealingNewtown Arts Space and the Sandy Hook Arts Center for Kids (SHACK) held events to commemorate the day with crafts and Dylan’s favorite color, purple.
At HealingNewtown Arts Space, located at 5 Queen Street, on Friday, family and friends gathered to celebrate Dylan Hockley’s birthday with crafts, music, refreshments, and bursts of purple. Purple balloons filled the space, where guests wore T-shirts, jackets, and hats of the same color to honor Dylan’s memory.
Kathy Holick and her 3½-year-old grandson Damien Cunningham made crafts at a table they shared with Anne Brandon and her daughters Alicia and Elizabeth Nicoletti.
The “Paint Purple Butterflies for Dylan” free community event scheduled Friday at The SHACK was postponed due to snow to Monday, March 11, but that did not stop a large number of people from showing up Friday to create purple butterflies.
The mission of The SHACK is to provide a safe haven for the children of the Sandy Hook/Newtown community to come to heal, create, and explore various art forms while expressing themselves artistically in a nurturing environment. The SHACK was founded by Wendy (Leahy) Mitchell, and fellow Newtown High School alumni.
On Monday, Ms Mitchell estimated roughly 100 purple butterflies would be created in Dylan’s memory before the event ended.
More butterflies decorated the 100 Church Hill, Suite 104, space that were sent from people who could not attend the event. Purple butterflies were sent from other Connecticut towns, like Covington and Oxford, and some were sent from Texas and the Philippines.
Newtown-Strong Therapy Dogs were also on hand on Monday at The Shack, offering interaction for all event goers.
For additional information on The SHACK, call 203-304-9555 or visit www.SandyHookArtsCenter.org.