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Art teacher, Valerie Davis, finds healing in drawing portraits of Sandy Hook school shooting victims

By Bo Koltnow, Reporter, BKoltnow@wfmz.com
Published On: Jan 01 2013 03:37:06 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 01 2013 04:37:52 PM CST

A local art teacher is hard at work on a special tribute to those affected by the school shooting in Newtown, Conn.

EASTON, Pa. -

A local art teacher is hard at work on a special tribute to those affected by the school shooting in Newtown, Conn. 

Valerie Davis has been drawing around the clock in an effort to help others heal.

"Little girl Emily, she has the most beautiful blue eyes," Davis said.

From the sparkle of 6-year-old Emily Parker to the innocence of Noah Pozner, portraits of the 26 victims of the shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School cover the living room of Valerie Davis's home in Easton.

"I do believe these portraits will last forever, not like flowers that die, not like teddy bears that can become a fixture. These are portraits that can be looked at for the rest of their lives," Davis explained.

With Mozart and Beethoven spurring her on, Davis, an art teacher for the Easton Area School District, began drawing the portraits, taken from pictures printed online, a week after the shooting.

"I know their feeling. I know the feeling of parents that lost children," she said.

Davis, who has three grown children, lost twins shortly after giving birth.

"I didn't think I could live through that, knowing I'd never get to see them smile at me or hear their voice," Davis said.

Grief in itself can be a medicine. For Davis, the sketching of the faces, young and old, has been a healing experience. It's one she hopes to extend to those affected by the tragedy as each frame and chest used to hold cards and letters from students has been donated. She plans to personally deliver every completed portrait to the victims' families.

"Funerals are so short-lived. These parents won't ever have the opportunity to see their loved ones again after that day they left home," Davis said.

It may surprise you to know that Davis is planning to draw not only Nancy Lanza but shooter Adam, too. For Davis, it's part of the process to heal and forgive.