Wauwatosa artist produces portraits children killed in Sandy Hook shooting

WAUWATOSA (WITI) -- Saturday, December 14th marked the one-year anniversary of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. 20 young students and six adults were killed. Now, a local woman is finding a way to offer comfort to the families of those who lost their lives in this tragedy.

Like many of us, Joanne Bowring watched the heartbreaking images flooding the media following the Sandy Hook shooting last December.

"When I saw them all together in the paper I thought I could do something or I could do nothing," Bowring said.

An avid artist, Bowring set herself the task of capturing the essence of each child lost at Sandy Hook.

"I was constantly trying to find articles. I saved every article locally," Bowring said.

Bowring spent hours researching each child, and within six months she had completed portraits for all 20 children.

"Making them look right was a little scary because I didn't want any parent to think that that child didn't look exactly like they were supposed to look," Bowring said.

Bowring has since sent the paintings to the children's parents -- though she does have a set of copies to show locally. She has even created a book of poems to accompany the portraits.

Each portrait also features a butterfly.

"It's fleeting beauty and it's gentle and fragile just like a little kid," Bowring said.

Bowring says she hopes the collection will help society to never forget what happened at Sandy Hook.

"If I can remind people by showing them all of these children in one place -- it's very overwhelming to see them all. That might be my part of the Sandy Hook Promise," Bowring said.

Bowring says for the parents who have suffered such unspeakable pain, she is hoping her gift might provide a small amount of comfort.

She says she wanted the portraits completed quickly, so the parents could all have their portrait by the six-month anniversary of the shooting.