Leesburg Benefit raises money for Uvalde Therapeutic Art Center

On Saturday, August 27th, 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 Saturday.

In partnership with the American Art Therapy Association, the Artistic Fuel Foundation is seeking to raise at least $100,000 to create 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 at the Uvalde public library and will have an art therapist on the weekends, said Kaeley Boyle, program director for the Artistic Fuel Foundation. Boyle said the program is for anyone in Uvalde who feels they need it. She said that after something traumatic, people often feel like they don’t deserve to get help because they feel like everyone else is affected more than they are. But, Boyle said, the art therapy center is for everyone.

“It’s something that everyone will feel for a long time,” Boyle said of the mass shooting. “The community, the people there still need help. It takes years to understand what happened and we want to be there for them.”

Saturday featured art therapists conducting art wellness activities, live music, food trucks, art exhibits, a panel on the healing process and an outdoor screening of the film MASS.

An art therapist helps children make paper cranes at the Ties That Bind benefit August 27 at Ida Lee Park in Leesburg. The benefit was to raise money for an art therapy program in Uvalde, TX after a mass shooting killed 19 children and 2 teachers. [Alexis Gustin/Loudoun Now]

The film MASS revolves around two sets of parents years after a mass shooting. The shooter’s parents and the victim’s parents agree to speak privately to try 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 and supported the Parkland, FL community; Fran Kranz, who wrote and directed the film; and producers Dylan Matlock and JP Ouellette.

“The Uvalde community is very similar to Leesburg and it felt symbiotic to do that and it gave us an opportunity to help,” Boyle said.

Boyle said the amount they’ve raised fluctuates daily, but they’re on track to meet 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 artistfuel.com/ties-that-bind.

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