Hearts for Sandy Hook: Shelton artist organizes unique tribute

Twenty-six artists are coming together, led by Shelton resident Hannah Perry, to honor each victim of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.

Hannah Perry, owner of The Giggling Pig children’s art studio at 478 River Road, has been organizing “Hearts for Newtown,” a unique memorial to the victims, inspired by her children’s artwork. In one of her books, the characters are brought together by a heart-shaped balloon that is stuck in a tree.

David Tanner at Lowe’s in Danbury donated pieces of wood that were cut by Richard and Ed Chairamonte to look like heart balloons, blowing in the wind. Each heart will be painted by an artist and dedicated to a specific victim. Once complete, the hearts would be hung up on a wall, to look like a group of wind-swept balloons, floating together.

“I thought it would be a nice remembrance,” Perry said. “I am excited about the project but it’s very sad as well, so it’s a strange feeling.

Perry put out a call to artists in December and received a great deal of interest.

“We have artists from all over the country,” Perry said.

Two of the major artists involved are William Quigley and Jared Aufrichtig. Most of the artists were visited the Shelton studio Wednesday, to pick up their hearts and get to work.

“I would like to see the hearts hanging up in the school, as a peaceful remembrance, and not something that the kids would have to be aware of what it is,” Perry said of giving the hearts to Sandy Hook Elementary. “But I would understand if the school didn’t want them, because of all the donations coming in. So I’d like to auction them off to raise money for art therapy for the kids.”

Perry is painting her heart in honor of six year-old Ana Marquez Greene, after feeling a connection to her family. After the tragedy, Perry hung a white heart in the window of the The Giggling Pig with green letters in the center that reads “Love always wins.” When Perry was reading posts by Greene’s mother, she noticed she signed her posts with “love wins.” Perry felt compelled to paint her heart in honor of the young victim.

Plans are still underway for the hearts, once complete, but the memorials will be on display at the Hartford Marathon in March.

Anyone interested in learning more or getting involved may call 203-919-1153 or email info@thegigglingpig.com. Information is also posted on The Giggling Pig’s website at thegigglingpigartstudio.com.