[MAY 18 | NEW YORK] Students at Rialto, California’s W.A. Carter High School are creating messages of hope around the world after a joint event with Stars of HOPE and Black Book Sessions. Organized locally by art instructor Kara O’Brien, young creative minds were inspired while being motivated to create and send messages of hope and healing around the world.
Kara first learned about Stars of HOPE from a fellow friend, Renee Wetzel, who had experienced Stars following the San Bernadino shooting. When sharing with Renee about an upcoming event with Black Book Sessions, Renee suggested that Kara incorporate a Stars of HOPE painting event. The rest, as they say, is history.
Kara explained that Black Book Sessions is a group of ‘street artists’ who are dedicated to promoting a positive educational forum through live art demonstrations and hands-on workshops.
“It was so amazing. The students were so motivated… are still motivated. It was just so great for them to give back to the community and give back their artistic skills to someone else. I think right now this generation is stuck in a rut where it’s very much a ‘me’ generation. It gave them the ability to express themselves and know that some else would receive that message.”
The first painting project completed at W.A. Carter High School will be being sent to Santa Fe, Tex., the site of the most recent school shooting. Kara felt the weight of Texas’ deadliest school shooting, “Coming from a high school myself, it’s just loving upon these kids the very best that we can… no matter the circumstances. It’s just looking at each kid as an individual and encouraging them and being able to uplift them to where they feel like their life is worth something. I just think if everyone felt like their life had meaning behind it, then… there would be such a different society.”
With remaining Stars left to be painted, Kara is incorporating them into the classroom as part of the Art I students’ finals, “We’re going a little step further for this next round of Stars… with a twist,” as she explains. “They will be sending out a message to somebody around the world, but it’s done through Art History or different cultures in a different way. So, they’re researching that artist and putting a message from that artist, or an artist quote, plus their personal message on the back.”
Kara is an instructor for Art I, Art II, and Ceramics, as well as the newest member of the ever-growing Stars of HOPE volunteer team. “I think the world needs hope just to give inspiration to others… like I think everybody is going through hard experiences and when you’ve been through something tough, it’s good to know that someone is there and by connecting the world together, it makes it seem as though we’re all united as one.” Jeff Parness, Executive Director for NYSTY | Stars of HOPE, said that one of his favorite aspects of the program is seeing others embrace the mission and put their own ‘twist’ to the project, just as Kara did with the Art History component.
If you would like to organize a Stars of HOPE painting event in your community, school, youth group, we welcome the opportunity to talk with you! Contact Josh Garcia at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.