As the funerals for the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting continue to take place through this holiday season, finding good news despite the horrific event might seem impossible, especially to those who survived through such a tragedy.
One Grand County artist is doing her part to help move the minds of those who were affected by the event to something refreshing and inspiring in hopes of helping them put their minds to something other than the killings that ruptured a hole in the Connecticut community, even if only for a short period of time.
Karla Jean Booth, an artist from Grand Lake who specializes in macro photography, is sending 325 coasters bearing pictures of individual snowflakes to the students and staff of Sandy Hook Elementary, the school that suffered one of the worst school shootings in U.S. history.
"The main goal is to try to take their minds off of what happened and put something uplifting and inspiring in front of them," Booth said.
Macro photography is extreme close-up photography, usually of very small subjects, in which the size of the subject in the photograph is greater than life size. In Booth's artwork she photographs individual snowflakes and creates coasters and portraits.
The students of Sandy Hook Elementary are being relocated to a new school after the tragic event that took place on Dec. 14, and they are opening the new school with a winter wonderland theme, which the snowflake artwork will help to augment. Each student and teacher of Sandy Hook Elementary will be able to take a snowflake coaster home with them.
Booth is sending a coaster, which doubles as a wall plaque, for each student and teacher at the school and is also donating a 30-inch by 40-inch snowflake portrait to the school, worth more than $1,100.
"Finally there is something I can do and I am glad to do it," Booth said.
Tim Emerson, president of Duraplaq, the maker of the portraits and coasters, is also donating the materials and his company's time to the effort, while Scott Owen, a generous local donor, is covering the shipping costs.
The message that will accompany the artwork is that snowflakes are like people in that each person is unique and one of a kind just as no two snowflakes are the same.
Booth also hopes to travel to the new school to talk with the kids about snowflakes and is looking for donors to help cover her travel costs.
"The children learn about snowflakes, but this takes the lesson 10 times further," Booth said.
Booth is also looking to do something for the police officers, SWAT team members, and first responders who were on the scene of the tragedy, though she has yet to be able to identify those individuals.
"I couldn't even imagine finding any kind of normal after an event like this," Booth said.
Booth also discussed the heroism that was shown by the staff of the school including Victoria Soto, a 27 year-old teacher at the school, who hid her students and sacrificed her life to protect the children in her class.
"My heroes are the teachers at Sandy Hook, and I would vote for Victoria Soto as 'Person of the Year' all day long," Booth said.
Booth is a prime example of people who are offering their support to the survivors of the tragedy that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary. She is donating the artwork through the Connecticut PTSA, or parent teacher student association, which is a non-profit child advocacy group.
Those who wish to help Karla Jean Booth in her efforts to help those affected by the tragedy can call her at 970-509-0433 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.