SPU students turn to art for healing and hope


by Heather Graf/KING 5 News


Posted on June 7, 2014 at 8:38 AM

One day after a deadly shooting on the campus of Seattle Pacific University, students are searching for ways to cope with their grief.  The chair of the art department opened up her studio, in hopes of helping.

Karen Gutowsky says it just felt like the right thing to do.

"Today when I woke up - you don't know what to do with this kind of emotion," she said.  "We all kinda have this collective numbness.  It goes on and off in waves."

With the help of a few of her students, a large donation of art supplies from a local business, she invited any and all students to come to her classroom and express their feelings through artwork.

"It's definitely a cathartic process," said SPU Senior Logan Pendergrass.  "Just the paper and the paint.  It's been great to see people come and go and pour themselves out."

He created a piece of artwork featuring a quote he feels is fitting for what he and his classmates are now dealing with.

"This is a quote from Martin Luther King, Junior that one of my friends posted on Facebook and it really resonated with me," he said.  "It says we must meet the forces of hate with the power of love."

When students were done creating their artwork, a group went through campus, hanging up the posters in spots where the hope-filled messages will be seen and read often.


"I think a lot of people it’s not just so much that I need to get my feelings out its I need to get all my wishes out for everyone else," said freshman Johanna Blake.  "So they can see it and know that they're loved."

Classes were cancelled on Friday at Seattle Pacific University.  Grief counselors will be on campus throughout the weekend, for any students and staff that may need them.