Waldrep's Newtown portraits going to surviving families
By ST. CLAIRE DONAGHY
|Greenwood artist and teacher Denise L. Waldrep’s portraits of the 20 children killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting were recently donated to the children’s surviving families. Waldrep said the project took five months to complete and was a way for her to work through emotions that hit “close to home.” The resulting images, Waldrep said, “are a celebration of those young lives.” (Submitted)|
|Want to see Waldrep's work?|
|* Denise L. Waldrep exhibits her work nationally and is an adjunct instructor at Lander University. Check out "Magnanimous Body Talk," a joint exhibition by Waldrep and her son, Carey Smith, on view in the Lander University Monsanto Gallery, located in the Josephine B. Abney Cultural Center, through Nov. 19. |
A reception and gallery talk is 5-7 p.m. Nov. 19.
Waldrep's son, Carey Smith, who currently lives and works in Boston, has a master of arts in teaching degree from Lander University and a bachelor of fine arts degree from College of Charleston. He exhibits throughout the Southeast and also writes poetry.
Greenwood artist and teacher Denise L. Waldrep recently donated to surviving family members 20 portraits she painted of each child killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting Dec. 14, 2012, in Newtown, Conn.
Six adults also lost their lives in the shooting rampage.
Waldrep said the children's images are "a celebration of those young lives" and "a way of keeping them in our memories."
The portraits arrived safely in Newtown on Oct. 15 and are going to the families, Waldrep said.
"While I was doing the portraits, I was OK emotionally, but now, it tears me up," Waldrep said, noting the Oct. 21 fatal middle school shooting in Nevada brought forth raw emotions again.
For five months, from January to May of this year, Waldrep said she created mixed media portraits, 12 by 12 inches, of each Newtown child. Each is personalized to reflect the personality of the child depicted, including a favorite color or reference to a favorite activity.
Waldrep said she painted the portraits from images posted online and gleaned details about the children's favorite colors and activities from Internet information, too.
"Once the idea took hold of me, there was no resting until I finished the project five months later," Waldrep said. "I was so angry and so frustrated and so sad from this tragedy. It brought me much comfort to create these. It was a way to release the anger and sadness I felt during the time after the shooting.
"I am a teacher who has worked many years with children, so this shooting and its aftermath has hit at the very heart of what I do on a daily basis. I felt like I had to do these portraits because this tragedy hit a little too close to home."
Waldrep, 56, taught science and social studies for 15 years in public schools. She is currently an adjunct instructor in the Lander University art department and a teacher of preschool music at First Baptist Church of Greenwood and St. Mark United Methodist Church of Greenwood.
Posted: Wednesday, October 30, 2013
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Posted: Tuesday, October 29, 2013
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That is such a kind, sweet and thoughtful act. I hope they will find some kind of comfort in knowing so many people cared about the loss of their little ones. God Bless you Ms. Waldrep.
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