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Alithia’s Art Angles

12 Jul

I feel helpless when mass shootings happen. I wish I could do something—anything—to make them stop. You feel that way too, I’m sure of it.

The only skill I’ve got is making books for children. After New Zealand’s mosque shootings, I wrote and illustrated Let’s Be Friends. Perhaps the Uvalde shooting will inspire a book as well, but books take time, and I wanted to do something now. So when 19 kids and 2 teachers were killed at Robb Elementary School, I drew them, each beautiful child and teacher, and posted the images on Instagram and Facebook.

The story of Alithia Ramirez, one of the murdered students, caught my attention. I read that her house was still decorated with birthday balloons. Alithia had just turned ten when the shooting happened.

Alithia’s father, Ryan, responded to the post on Instagram. A day or two later, I heard Ryan tell Anderson Cooper that Alithia was a talented artist, always surrounded by crayons. After illustrating all of the other victims, I circled back and drew Alithia again, as her father described her.

In my family, we are all artists. My husband is a designer and an abstract painter, and our son was practically born with a Micron marker in his hand. As for me, well… art is all I can do. Alithia’s story resonated with me.

I reached out to her parents through Ryans comments on my Instagram posts. Since then, we’ve been working together to build a website that celebrates Alithia, her life and art, and the art of all children: Alithia’s Art Angels.

Alithia’s Art Angels

Alithia’s Art Angels is a free online art gallery for children’s art—because Alithia dreamed of seeing her artwork online some day.

“I just wish people could share their drawings so somehow I can make their dreams come true since I always told Alithia that I would make her dreams come true and she was so happy that I believed that she could do anything.”

~Jess Hernandez

Alithia’s mom, Jess Hernandez, was Alithia’s biggest encourager. Jess wants to encourage other young artists to follow their dreams. Toward that end, we created the Alithia’s Art Angels fundraiser, with a goal of giving away art supplies to artists who are 18 and younger. All of this can be accessed through alithiasartangels.com.

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