On Saturday Aug. 27 Artistic Fuel and The Artistic Fuel Foundation hosted the Ties That Bind Benefit at Ida Lee Park in Leesburg. Mayor Kelly Burk and Rep. Jennifer Wexton (D-VA-10) stopped by the benefit Saturday.
In partnership with the American Art Therapy Association, the Artistic Fuel Foundation is trying to raise a minimum of $100,000 for the creation of an art therapy program for Uvalde, TX, the site of a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School that killed 19 students and two teachers.
The art therapy center will be set up in the public library in Uvalde and will have an art therapist on the weekends said Kaeley Boyle, programs director of The Artistic Fuel Foundation. Boyle said the program is for anyone in Uvalde who feels they need it. She said often after something traumatic happens people feel like they don’t deserve to get help because they feel everyone else was more affected than they were. But, Boyle said, the art therapy center is for everyone.
“It’s something that will be felt by everyone for a long time,” Boyle said of the mass shooting. “The community, the people there still need help. It takes years to get to a place of understanding of what happened and we want to be there for them.”
On Saturday there were art therapists on hand doing art wellness activities, live music, food trucks, art displays, a panel discussing the process of healing and an outdoor screening of the movie MASS.
The film MASS centers around two sets of parents, years after a mass shooting. The parents of the shooter and the parents of the victim agree to talk privately in an attempt to move forward.
The panel included Dr. E. Scott Gellar, Alumni Distinguished Professor of Psychology at Virginia Tech; Raquel Farrel-Kirk, who worked as an art therapist supporting the Parkland, FL community; Fran Kranz, who wrote and directed the film; and producers Dylan Matlock and J.P. Ouellette.
“The Uvalde community is a lot like Leesburg, and it felt symbiotic to do this and it gave us a way to help,” Boyle said.
Boyle said the amount they have raised fluctuates daily but they are on their way to reaching their goal. She said they will spend the next 3-5 months raising funds until they reach their goal.
Donations can be made online at artisticfuel.com/ties-that-bind.