Clark County unveils 1 October memorial portraits
As a tribute to those who perished a year ago, Clark County and the Vegas Strong Resiliency Center have unveiled “The Las Vegas Portraits Project, 1 October Memorial Exhibit,” featuring portraits of the 58 victims of the attack. Artists from around the world contributed to the artistic effort in their honor. The exhibit will be open through Oct. 19 in the first-floor rotunda gallery of the Clark County Government Center, 500 S. Grand Central Parkway.
Also on display are crosses that were left at the “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Nevada” sign on the Strip; an “Art of Healing” mural created by students of the Las Vegas Academy of the Arts and the local Guerilla Artz Foundation; and stained-glass angels made by members of Angels of Love, an organization based in Orange, Calif.
Artist Ellen Abramo of Nazareth, Pa., was presented with a proclamation honoring her and her cousin, Kortney Struempf of Marietta, Ga., for organizing the tribute. And Mary Jo von Tillow, wife of victim Kurt von Tillow, participated in the opening day ceremony on Sept. 17.
“My family has struggled since that night and our recovery is ongoing,” said von Tillow in a statement issued by the county. “A big part of our healing and moving forward has been the outreach from so many people around the world, including The Las Vegas Portraits Project, which was very touching to all of us.”
Added Abramo: “We have had some very special experiences come about through this project as some families were able to collaborate with artists on the portrait of their loved ones. There is nothing more humbling than to get a message from a victim’s family member or close friend and read that they love the portrait or that their loved one’s personality was captured.”
All the artists that were selected for The Las Vegas Portraits Project chose their subjects from biographical information and images that were in newspaper stories about the victims. In addition to Americans, several artists hail from countries including Canada, Greece and Peru. Portraits range in size and hang on a wall, benefitting from natural light from the Government Center’s outdoor amphitheater, and the County Museum crosses are arranged on nearby tiered pedestals.
“Our goal with this project is to help build a bridge of hope and healing through art,” said Struempf in the county statement.
The exhibit is also designed to encourage those affected by the 1 October tragedy to reach out to the Vegas Strong Resiliency Center to learn about the services it offers. Throughout the exhibit, the center will staff a resource table with American Red Cross volunteers and therapists to help those who need emotional support. Also, volunteers from the Las Vegas-based Angel Paws will be on site with therapy dogs.
“From the bottom of our hearts, we hope this exhibit will be well-received by the public,” said Abramo. “Not for the artistic ability expressed, but for the love that was poured into it.”