LAS VEGAS (KLAS-TV) – An advanced art project from middle school students is spreading kindness and showing that our community continues to be Vegas Strong!
On the second anniversary of 1 October, art students at Cadwallader Middle School unveiled their tribute to the 58 people who lost their lives the night of the shooting.
“I think it’s a way to bring people together,” said eighth grader Harlie Smith.
Science teacher, Christine Janette, was at the Route 91 concert with her husband that tragic night. They both survived.
Janette finds purpose in giving back to the families who lost loved ones: “I feel like it’s helping me heal, and move forward, and understand what I’ve been through”
Over 1,600 students are participating in the art project called the ‘Global Angel Wings Project.’
The project was originally started by Colette Miller, a street artist in Los Angeles, who started painting human sized interactive wings as a way, “to remind humanity that we are the angels of the earth.”
Miller donated an original set of angel wings to Cadwallader. The advanced art students followed her lead.
Students created 58 sets of life-sized angel wings to honor those who died. The class also signed a pledge to spread kindness, made donations to the families who lost loved ones, and proudly donned Cadwallader Strong bracelets!
Their art teacher, Frank Eclarin observed that this is “a reminder that this is bigger than us that this reaches out and touches family and friends and survivors.”
The students design allows others to become a part of the artwork by taking pictures in front of the angel wings. Next to each set of wings is a picture and information about each of the 58 men and women who died on 1 October.
“At first it was really hard to look at each one of their faces,” said Janette. “As a survivor, it was really hard for me.”
Eighth grader James honored Sonny Melton, with a massive set of angel wings, to pay tribute to the nurse from Tennessee, who sacrificed his life shielding his wife, Heather. She was uninjured.
The young artist commented, “That was really touching I think he deserved those wings.”
Another eighth grader, Jena, honored a man named John Phippen, also a hero. He was at the concert with his son, Travis. John died after placing his body over a girl to protect her from bullets. She was a complete stranger.
Jena honored John with angel wings, and included in her project his son’s name Travis across a small teddy bear: “I wanted to honor him, by just putting that on here, honoring his son, and just putting down his son’s name, and the heart, to let him know you’re still in your dad’s heart – he’s loving you right now…wherever he is….if it’s in heaven or somewhere else.”
I learned of the Global Angel Wings Project and this tribute, from Harlie Smith, who wrote a beautiful letter about the project – thinking about those who died, and about survivors, including her teacher: “I wanted to do something to recognize what she’s done, and what she’s been through,” Smith remarked.
Smith’s teacher feels that love and continues to do all she can to spread kindness.
“Keep moving forward, and find the positive,” Janette said enthusiastically, “There is so much positive in our community here in Las Vegas we’re an amazing community! We’re Vegas Strong, and now, we’re Vegas Stronger!”