One year after VB mass shooting, local theater company looks to bring healing through community art projects done from home

Virginia Beach Mass Shooting

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — The one-year anniversary of the Virginia Beach mass shooting is coming up.

One local theater company is hoping to heal through a community art project anyone can participate in, regardless of the coronavirus pandemic.

Community liaison at Zeiders American Dream Theatre, Sibel Galindez, says not only is this community art project about healing after last year’s shooting but also through this time as the coronavirus spreads.

Last year, Galindez says the City of Virginia Beach was gifted with a wreath made from 1,000 paper cranes with inscriptions of comfort sent from the City of Aurora, Colorado, which had also experienced a similar tragedy.

“We were really touched because when we saw the time that was put into the wreath — and there are inscriptions written on the cranes as well — so it gave us hope, and light, and strength to know we, too, could heal as a city from the shooting on May 31,” said Galindez.

She says they decided to pay the act of love and paper cranes forward to another city that has been through a mass shooting.

Some of the cranes will be gifts for healthcare workers on the front lines during this time.

“The goal is to fold 1,000 cranes to bring healing and peace to our community, not only for the tragedy of May 31, but now also to heal our community with the challenging times brought on by the coronavirus,” she stated.

What was originally going to be origami tutorial stations across the city has now been transitioned to online zoom step-by-step classes with local artist Renee Calway.

The origami cranes will be collected once this quarantine period is over.

“Art is one of the … healthiest powerful tools we can harness right now, whether it’s healing from the shooting on May 31. We’re healing during these challenging days, all the lives that have been touched and lost from the coronavirus, I want to invite everyone to join us,” Galindez said.

Galindez is encouraging those who participate to post a picture of their cranes with the hashtag #thezhealingcranes on May 31.

#VBStong Origami Crane Folding Online Community Project is an hour-long secure Zoom call on April 16 and May 7.

Join at TheZ.org, Thursday, April 16 at 3:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., and Thursday, May 7 at the same times.

Those who want to participate can also make the cranes on their own time by going to TheZ.org and following the instructions there.


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