Artist Nancy Noel has joined with the My Sandy Hook Family Fund to offer limited edition prints of a new memorial painting, "Be Still." Proceeds will aid families of the victims of the December 14, 2012, shooting that took the lives of 20 children and six staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. The tragedy not only left the victims' families dealing with indescribable grief but also with financial strains. To help alleviate the burden, families of the children who survived created the My Sandy Hook Family Fund.
Noel's iconic paintings of angelic children grace the homes of such notables as Oprah Winfrey, Maya Angelou, Jane Seymour, and Robert Redford. Even those who can't afford Noel's originals, which can be priced in the hundreds of thousands, have enjoyed her paintings on the pages of eight books that have sold over 250,000 copies.
Soon after the tragedy, Noel was drawn to her Zionsville, Ind., studio where she began painting a pensive child with hands clasped in prayer and a white dove hovering behind her. Over the years, the artist's work has prompted hundreds of letters, phone calls, and emails from parents suffering loss who have found comfort in her paintings. Therefore, it was no surprise to Noel when she began receiving emails and calls from the Newtown community asking that she create a work to commemorate the children lost in the Sandy Hook school shooting.
"I feel honored that I was thought of at this time by the people affected by the shooting," Noel says, "but I originally started the painting for myself as a way of healing. Although the Newtown tragedy inspired the painting, the child depicted represents all children who have passed, not any one child in particular."
In "Be Still," the dove represents the Divine, according to Noel. The child's expression is quiet and meditative and her face is bathed in promising light. "My hope is that this image will bring some light into the darkness for all those who have lost children," explains Noel.