Parkland Survival Stories - Exhibition Helps Community Heal

October 30, 2019

First you see black-and-white photos that capture the heartbreak of teachers who couldn’t save everyone, of parents’ whose children never came home and of students who wonder why they made it.

Then you hear recordings of survivors describe the approach of thundering gunshots, whispered phone calls to loved ones and last conversations with fallen classmates at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

The “Anguish in the Aftermath” exhibition features photos and audio recordings of students, teachers and others affected by the Feb. 14, 2018 shooting in Parkland that claimed 17 lives.

Community Foundation of Broward Fundholders’ support made this powerful exhibition possible, so we took dozens of Foundation supporters to the Coral Springs Museum of Art to experience the healing power of the arts.

The "Anguish in the Aftermath" exhibition features a collection of photos and audio recordings of students, teachers and others affected by the Parkland school shooting.

“Wow,” Fundholder Cathy Donnelly said after viewing the photographs and listening to the recordings. “It was profound. It was sad. It was inspiring.”

Pairing the portraits with the recordings makes the exhibition intimate and personal, said Juliet Murphy Roulhac, a Foundation Board member.

“You really feel like you connect with and almost know that person,” she said. “You feel like you are one-on-one with them.”

The visit to the exhibition was our latest Food for Thought luncheon – one of the exclusive opportunities for our Foundation family to learn about Broward’s big issues and see the bold impact of local philanthropy.

At the luncheon, photojournalist and Marjory Stoneman Douglas alumnus Ian Witlen explained that he created the exhibition to document what people experienced that day as well as what survivors hope will come from this tragedy.

Witlen also discussed how the exhibition has helped him and others in our grieving community heal. Now he plans to take it across the state and to other communities that have suffered mass shootings.

“I wanted to simply show people what has gone on here,” Witlen said. “It’s important that others learn from this. Society can heal as a whole by learning.”

The power of the arts to connect neighbors and help us heal during difficult times is why our Fundholders support Art of Community – one of the Issues That Matter most to Broward’s future.

“The Foundation believes that the arts are essential to our community,” said Sheri Brown, Foundation vice president of community impact. “The arts inspire us. They empower us. They bring us closer together.”

After the showing in Coral Springs, photojournalist Ian Witlen plans to take his "Anguish in the Aftermath" exhibition to other communities affected by mass shootings. (Photo by Chris Zuppa, Florida Humanities.)

The “Anguish in the Afterman” exhibition was made possible by support from the following Funds at the Community Foundation of Broward:

Helen and Frank Stoykov Charitable Endowment Fund

Ruth H. Brown Fund for the Arts

Ron Castell Memorial Fund

Leonard & Sally Robbins Fund

Mary N. Porter Community Impact Fund

Harold Rosenberg Fund for Children's Education.

Contact Information

To learn how you can support the Art of Community, contact Vice President of Philanthropic Services Nancy Thies at nthies@cfbroward.org or 954-761-9503.

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