Art Therapy Links Marjory Stoneman Douglas Students To Painting, Healing

Mar 13, 2018
Originally published on March 13, 2018 2:15 pm

It’s been close to a month since the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that left 17 people dead and 15 more injured. In a city neighboring Parkland, one museum is making art therapy for students a weekly ritual. 


Kathryn Doll is an art therapist and one of the licensed clinical social workers leading the art healing group at the Coral Springs Museum of Art.

“It’s a great way for people to express things that are just too hard to talk about,” she said. “And I think it really highlights the resiliency that we’re seeing in some of these kids.”

Doll has seen many of the students return to more than one healing session, and some are using a lot of maroon, Douglas’s school color, in their artwork. 

But Doll  isn’t not the only one who sees what art can do for those affected.

Al Razza is a local Coral Springs artist who teaches art classes at the museum. Some of his students are enrolled at Douglas or work there. He’s in talks with the city of Coral Springs to use some of his own artwork for a healing display soon.

“I did a lot of work with hearts and gears and wires and chains...all of these little elements that bind us and grip us and hold us in place,” Razza said.


Razza hopes the community, and his students, can use his pieces to heal.

“Each child, adult, whoever needs it would create their own chain link and add it to the artwork,” he said. 

Brittany Curtis is the Coral Springs Museum of Arts education and programs manager. She's the one who helped the museum come up with its community response after the shooting and implemented the healing sessions.

"How can you plan for something like this?,” she asked. “It happened and we sat down as a museum team and said, 'OK, what can we do?’ We feel so helpless...We wanted to make a positive impact with this program so it doesn't feel as helpless."

The art therapy sessions are open to anyone affected by the shooting and will be running weekly for the foreseeable future, according to the museum. 

The healing sessions run from 3 p.m. through 5:30 p.m. Tuesday afternoons inside  the museum located at 2855 Coral Springs Dr. Coral Springs, FL 33065.

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