Resiliency Center To Celebrate Its Work And Its Future With An ‘Evening Under The Stars’

Photo: Shannon Hicks

Guests at The Resiliency Center’s fundraiser on May 2 will have the opportunity to purchase a frame, and then pick the part of this large painted canvas that they would like to have cut to fit into their frame. The painted work was the effort of about 15 children, who spent about an hour creating the special work with artist Dave Brooker on April 18.

The Resiliency Center of Newtown (RCN) has invited the public to celebrate next weekend the healing that has already been done through the center’s programs while offering financial support for future offerings at an “Evening Under The Stars” May 2 at the Waterview in Monroe.

RCN offers long-term healing to anyone in the greater Newtown community impacted by the events of 12/14, to help these individuals reach their full potential. The center is a program of Tuesday’s Children, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Its programs are free and confidential.

Founder Stephanie Cinque has, since September 2013, arranged for music, art, and even chocolate therapy programs to take place at 153 South Main Street. The center has hosted drumming circles, “Creative Insight,” a course that was reportedly instrumental in helping hundreds of 9/11 family and community members move forward with their lives, storytelling, visits with therapy dogs, arts and crafts, herbal therapy, peer support, reflexology and reiki, chair massage, and many other programs.

To date, more than 500 individuals and families have been served by The Resiliency Center.

The public is invited to join Ms Cinque and RCH volunteers at the May 2 celebration. The formal event will begin at 6:30 pm. Cocktails, dinner, silent and live auctions, open bar, live music and dancing will all be part of the evening.

Tickets are $125 per person. Early reservations are being requested. Black tie is optional.

Entrée choices are grilled filet mignon and poached Atlantic salmon.

Ira Joe Fisher has agreed to serve as the master of ceremonies.

Auction items include “The Ultimate Mets Experience,” with four tickets and parking, access to on-field batting practice, photos in the dugout with at least two players, and attendance at Terry Collins’s pre- and post-game press conferences.

Another big ticket item is expected to be the Danube River cruise package provided by Tauck River Cruising, valued at $11,000.

Items will also include an overnight stay at The Mayflower Inn in Washington; an overnight stay, including a 60-minute massage, at Delamar Hotel at Greenwich Harbor; and four tickets to see The Velocity of Autumn on Broadway and dinner for four at The Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar & Grill in New York City.

Also among the offerings will be a Coach bag and sunglasses, a gift certificate to Mitchells in Westport, as well as a Closet Clean by one of the store’s trained experts, a Jim Craig-signed hockey stick, a Steve Young autographed football, spa treatments, Alex + Ani jewelry, dinners and more.

There will also be, according to RCN Office Manager Jennifer Holguin, a unique metal sculpture by the renowned LorenFlower Project, to be revealed at the gala.

“There are so many wonderful gifts,” Ms Holguin said. “I think every price point is represented.”

Ms Holguin says the event is not only a fundraiser for RCN, but also a reminder, to offer an “awareness of what we do so we can increase our outreach to the community.”


One Project, Multiple Benefits

Last week, about 15 children participated in an event at Shortt’s Farm in Sandy Hook. Joining artist Dave Brooker, the children created a large painting that will be divided during “Evening Under the Stars,” and sold to attendees, along with frames, as another form of fundraising for RCN.

“The idea is, it will be cut into many pieces and then go out into the community,” Mr Brooker said last week. “I’m going to the Oprah Winfrey full circle: The kids from the center are making this, and then the people that are going to fund the center are going to own a piece of that art.”

On April 18 boys and girls took turns, two at a time, stepping up to a large piece of canvas that had been laid on the ground. With a small plastic bottle of acrylic paint in each hand, they were encouraged to empty the bottle onto the approximately 4- by 8-foot canvas.

One or two calmly squeezed their bottles onto the canvas, but most took the opportunity to make the splashy mess the guest artist was hoping they would. Arms flung paint down, hands flicked the plastic bottles, paint splashed and plopped, and smiles followed.

Paint literally flew onto the canvas… and in some cases onto shirts, pants, shoes, and even into hair. Parents knew it would be a messy project, however, so many had covered their children in oversize shirts. Others had just made sure their children were wearing clothes the could get covered with paint that afternoon.

Within minutes the canvas was covered with splotches and sprays, puddles and lines of paint.

Some children were hesitant to begun, but once they started, most went with full abandon. Mr Brooker had to gently tell one or two, “That’s it. There’s no more paint in that bottle.”

Looking at the canvas once every child had a turn to apply paint, the artist was visibly happy.

“Look how it’s getting dense in some areas,” Mr Brooker said. “It’s awesome, isn’t it?”

Mr Brooker has done similar paint projects with other groups. The abstract paintings echo the works of Jackson Pollock, but always have their own personality, he said.

“You get 20 kids together and hand them paint, and they come up with something similar but different,” he said. “It’s magic.

“There’s no form, no lines to follow, no rules,” continued Mr Brooker, who grew up in Newtown and now lives in Southbury. After a bad leg injury, Mr Brooker took up painting as a hobby. About 30 of Mr Brooker’s paintings, which he calls energy paintings, are on view at Newtown Municipal Center through the end of April.

He has donated his works for other fundraisers, and has done his splash painting projects for adults as well as children’s groups including his son’s fourth grade class.

“Every time I do this with adults, they don’t totally let go. They don’t know how to anymore,” he said. “Kids are just so in the moment, and it comes out and it’s beautiful.

“And it’s kid art. Who doesn’t like kid art?”

The Waterview is at 215 Roosevelt Drive in Monroe, less than a quarter of a mile west of the Newtown line. For tickets visit www.tuesdayschildren.org/rcn_gala. For additional information, call The Resiliency Center of Newtown at 203-364-9750 or send e-mail to info@resiliencycenterofnewtown.org.



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