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'Art For Healing' helps Buffalo students process feelings from mass shooting

Students in Grades 6-11 worked with local artists who volunteered their time on Tuesday to paint and create art.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Part of Glenwood Avenue near Jefferson Avenue closed down on Tuesday for a few hours for a special event to help teenagers heal through artistic expression.

Michele Agosto came up with the concept for "Art for Healing" knowing people work through their feelings in different ways.

"I felt very helpless, and I didn't know what to do, and I didn't know what to give, and the only thing I could think about is how do we, how can we use art to help the community?" said Michele Agosto, Director of Arts for Buffalo Public Schools.

Healing takes on many forms and Tuesday's painting did the trick.

"We're in a space where being able to release how we're feeling without fear of repercussions, without fear of judgment, we need that. These kids need that," said artist Shantelle Patton.

Artist Shantelle Patton volunteered to be there because she knows how important it is to show up.

"This is definitely a personally fulfilling day for me to be able to see these kids smile in such a time where we're being personally attacked as a community," says Shantelle Patton.

"Art for Healing" brought 6 through 11th graders out to work with local artists.

Daijha Mimms says events like this really help.

"It lets you express yourself in a different way by, because you know a lot of students don't really like to talk about it and stuff like that. They would rather try to paint and draw or try to do something creative to show how they actually feel about the tragedy," says 11th grader Daijha Mimms.

"I feel like I'm doing all right. I'm doing all right. Could be doing better I guess," said Jaylen Montgomery, an 11th grader.

"It relieves a lot of stress like I can calm down and just have fun," said 10th grader Jazzlyn Nelson.

"I'm really hoping that they're able to just kind of tap into some of their own creative energy and really just take a minute, even if it's just a minute of healing and a moment to kind of just take a breath and reflect, I'm hoping they get that moment today to just do that a little bit," said artist Julia Bottoms.

Julia Bottoms' art focuses on representation.

"Not everybody's good at talking about their feelings, not everybody's good at like sitting down and writing them out, so I think when you have art, it's a way to sort of reflect and do it in a more organic way sometimes, you know, it opens people up and lets down some of those guards," says Julia Bottoms.

"Art for Healing" activities continue through September.

Saturday, July 24, 4:00pm: BPO presents Concert for Healing @ Johnnie B. Wiley Pavilion

Friday, August 5, 10:30am-12:00pm: BPS Dept. of Arts Spoken Word & Theater Community Performance @ School #59/ MLK Park

Friday, August 12 & 19, 10:30am-12:30pm: Starlight Studios- Make Art with Starlight Artists and their Bunny, Harold!

Saturday, August 13, 1:00pm-3:00pm: Saturdays at El Museo- Transactional Poetry with Craig Centrie

Saturday, August 27, 1:00pm-3:00pm: Saturdays at El Museo- Kite Making with Juilo Flores

Sunday, September 4, 12:00pm- 4:00pm: Los Artistas del Barrio Buffalo & Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper- AGUA FLOW @ Broderick Park

Thursday, September 15, 4:00pm-6:00pm: BPS Family Arts & Healing Night with Albright Knox Gallery @ School #59/ MLK Park

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