NHS Students Helping The SHACK

The Sandy Hook Arts Center for Kids (SHACK) has found support from the Newtown High School Creative Arts Council, which has provided artwork and volunteers following the center’s inception.

According to SHACK, its mission is to provide a safe haven for the children of Sandy Hook and Newtown for them to heal, create, and explore various art forms.

NHS Creative Cultural Arts Council Co-Founders Lindsay Fuori and Sarah Clements explained at the council’s Friday, March 15, meeting what the high school students have been doing to support SHACK and some of the group’s other projects.

Council members worked on painting canvases during the meeting that were donated to create artwork for the SHACK. The Creative Cultural Arts Council also has other projects it is working on, one is creating artwork to highlight acts of kindness for the high school.

Sarah explained the group was inspired by the movement inspired by the “26 Acts of Kindness” call that originated with a tweet by NBC newswoman Ann Curry (originally 20 acts), which asks for 26 acts of kindness to be performed in the name of those lost on 12/14.

“You can write ‘Have a good day,’ or something,” Sarah explained, and post it in an envelope.

Instead, the high school art students are promoting acts of kindness through artwork that will be hung around the high school. One piece completed by March 15 was a purple background with sprigs of flowers sprouting across the canvas with the words, “With spring’s first blossom comes new hope.”

The canvases the students were working on that Friday for SHACK were going to be complete with happy scenes, according to Sarah.

“Just to make the room look more decorated,” said Sarah, about SHACK’s 100 Church Hill Road center.

Sarah said she and Lindsay thought of the idea of the Creative Cultural Arts Council last school year.

“There are so many artists here,” said Sarah, “and there’s not really a good outlet for us to do things. So we started it at the beginning of this year.”

At first, Sarah said, the council was a place for students to go to plan events based around “the arts.” Then 12/14 happened, and Sarah said the group shifted their events also help heal through the arts.

“So now we are doing things like volunteering at the SHACK,” said Sarah. “We’ve been volunteering at Sandy Hook with the art students there. We’re planning a mural to put up at the school, not really as a memorial, but as a symbol of hope.”

Lindsay said the group has also been doing various projects throughout the school year.

Council member Jillianne Lyon was completing one of the canvases on Friday, and said she has volunteered with the SHACK a few times already.

“It’s just really nice, doing what you do, healing through arts and seeing the effect it has on families,” said Jillianne. “It’s really nice to feel like you are doing something.”

Lindsay said she loves what the SHACK stands for.

“It’s a great place,” said Lindsay.

When she goes to volunteer at the SHACK, Lindsay said she sees children who are happy and enjoying themselves.

“It’s so fulfilling,” Lindsay said. “It just makes me so happy.”

Getting involved with something so close to home and knowing they are making a difference is great, says Lindsay.

“Everyone has been really interested,” said Lindsay, about the council members involvement with SHACK. “When we gave the project out, people were immediately picking up canvases, working, asking how they could help, proposing different projects we could do. So it’s been really cool.”

For information about SHACK, including upcoming events, see its website www.sandyhookartscenter.org or the SHACK Facebook page.

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