Florida Capitol art exhibit honors Parkland Shooting victims and survivors

Published: Feb. 14, 2020 at 6:21 PM EST
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By: Emma Wheeler | WCTV Eyewitness News

February 14, 2020

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- There is

Anguish in the Aftermath

of the Parkland shooting, but it's more than a feeling this week at the Florida State Capitol.

It's the name of an exhibit located on the fourth floor Capitol rotunda, dedicated to the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School victims and survivors.

Six photos show the faces of seven people remembering that tragic day. The display marks the second anniversary of the deadliest high school shooting in American history, making sure that their emotions, and the events behind them, are never forgotten.

Artist Ian Witlen, a Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School alumnus, interviewed 75 students, teachers and victims' families, asking them two questions: "What was your experience that day?" And, "What would you like to see come of it?"

The six portraits capture the emotion the moment they answered, partnered with an audio recording and written transcript of their response.

"It's hard, it's hard to read it. Some of them are hard to finish, it's hard to imagine," said Lony Schoff, who was visiting the Capitol Friday. "It's really sad that nothing has really been done, state or national level. I don't know how many school shootings do you have to witness."

Onlookers were brought to tears Friday as they walked through the display.

Kate Taluga was brought to action. A member of Mom's Demand Action, she led a group to deliver handmade valentines to all 160 Florida lawmakers. Pieced together with a heart, the words, Remember Parkland, and a quote from Floridians on why they support stricter gun laws.

Each one saying thank you, but reminding the elected officials that session is not over, and neither is this conversation.

"I'm tired of feeling like I can't make change, and art actions like this have made people stop and think," Taluga said. "I think it's important in this divisive age for all the places that we can read and witness people's honest responses to something, that's what helps us to have compassion and to listen to all sides. Not just one."

Artist Ian Witlen said about the display, that "It's only through remembrance we can continue to heal."

Witlen said the display is "a-political," and is meant to show the long term affects of mass shootings, so that they are not longer a part of our society.

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