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Bedford Daily Voice serves Bedford, Bedford Hills & Katonah

Local Show Pits Art Against Bullying

KATONAH, NY-- Bullying is a topic that painfully ceases to go away, and the public was reminded of such recently when yet another life was lost too soon. Jamey Rodemeyer, the 14-year-old Williamsville, NY resident who committed suicide just more that a week ago, was incessantly bullied about his sexuality.

Rodemeyer turned to the Internet to express his thoughts and emotions about being a target, writing a blog and uploading videos. It has become a recent trend for kids of many ages, thanks to the Web’s widespread use.

One of the age-old forms of expression that has not left the table completely, though, is art, which continues to have the ability to portray powerful emotions on the page, canvas, or stone. Until the middle of October, the Katonah Art Center and Gallery is hosting a show filled with art against violence and bullying done by a class in 2005.

Joe Tomasini, an instructor at the art center, taught the class six years ago, and the feelings had by the young artists still ring loudly today.

“I wanted to bring this back again to let people realize that not much has really changed,” said Tomasini. “Kids are still getting bullied. There are still the same fears; it has not changed very much at a base level.”

Six years ago, Tomosini guided the students to a point, but once their inner feelings came forward, the students seemed to rally together to create a collaborative statement.

“The kids realized that they weren’t alone anymore, that they all had similar experiences, similar stories to tell, and that helped them a lot,” Tomasini explained. “There was a lot of healing going on at that time.”

Sarah Miller, the manager of the art center, was not surprised that the practice helped restore good thoughts into the children.

“Art turns them inward to help focus and create something that’s theirs," Miller said. "It shuts out the outside world and makes their inner thoughts, feelings, and inspirations more important than anything else.”

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