To our Buffalo Public Schools community,
After the unspeakable tragedy that occurred on Saturday, May 14, 2022, our BPS arts teachers asked how we can use the power of the arts to process, communicate, express, contextualize, and affirm the feelings of our students in order to help them in some small way to heal. The arts have a unique way to bring people together through experiences that are both shared and individually realized, and the thought of an art project that is both created singularly, but can be combined to create a collaborative arts piece that speaks to this moment, would be a positive way to recognize our collective pain, as well as offfer a path for community healing.
The BPS Department of Arts, under the leadership of Michele Agosto, Director, and arts teachers Tracy Rose and Rachel Lyons, with the full support of Dr. Tonja Williams, Superintendent of Schools, has come up with a simple art project that can be done by any teacher in any classroom at any time.
There will be two projects, all simply based on a silhouette of a Buffalo and variations of the universal symbol of a heart.
The first project uses a design of a Buffalo with three different stages of a heart that represent either love, sadness or healing. We encourage students to choose the one image they feel resonates best with them. In that graphic illustration, students can write their thoughts as well as draw, paint, or collage in or around the image. Students should be allowed to complete the Buffalo as they wish. Some message prompts that may help students work through their thinking could be: peace, love, kindness, acceptance, understanding, education and empathy. They may also choose to share their anger and sadness...this is okay.
The second project will include a larger image of a heart that will be the placemat for a smaller cut-out of the Buffaloes that will hold affirmations students would like to share. They can be placed within the heart. The heart, which we hope to be as large as 8'x 8', will be hung near a well-traveled hall in your schools (main office, cafeteria, library, etc.) and students, as well as faculty, can place their buffalo in the middle of the heart when they are ready to share an affirmation. When they are available, we will be sure to deliver them to you.
We encourage staff and families to also participate, as we believe that the art-making process in moments of sadness and tragedy can help to process moments which seem infinitely inexplicable.
The Buffalo Public Schools encourages the use of the following hashtags when images are uploaded to social media and other platforms, such as Padlet: #bpsartheals # bpsartworks and #buffalopublicschools. This will create an online art gallery to share with the community so that everyone can read the messages of our youth from our schools.
We invite all of you to participate in this community art project if you are able. It is a simple way to show our strength, support, and love for our BPS students, families and our community.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
- Michele Agosto