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Friday, October 22, 2010

Healing from the Ashes Art Exhibit Benefits Station Fire Victims

Press Release: October 21, 2010

The closing ceremony and silent auction of Healing from the Ashes proved to be very moving and meaningful experience for all who attended. The dynamic art exhibit in Sunland Tujunga featured mixed media art created from remnants of homes destroyed in the Station Fire in 2009. The Station Fire was one of Los Angeles County’s most destructive wildfires impacting more than ninety homeowners who live in or who border the Angeles National Forest.

Naturalist Corina Roberts said that the Station Fire respected no boundaries; natural or man-made, it consumed everything in its path, no habitat was spared, it burned in creek beds, chaparral communities and every species of trees in the Forest. The fire grew into a monster destroying over 160,000 acres of watershed. Corina has documented the early recovery process as nature has intended, but she said the forest will look drastically different than before the fire. Many species are thriving but it will be years before we see the timber recover to a mature state. So far the recovery rate for the forest has been acceptable to Forest Service officials but the recovery efforts for homeowners who lost everything has been painfully slow.

In order to help fire victims, local artist and curator Ariyana Gibbon and several volunteers collected articles from incinerated homes in the Vogel Flats region of Big Tujunga Canyon shortly after the wildfire. Local artist were then asked to make art pieces from the ruins for public auction, in order to aid strugling fire victims.

Ariyana painstakingly collected chunks of molten glass and metal, ceramic tile, dishes, kick- knacks, charred wood, stone and other materials from charcoal pits of total destruction. She asked 30 local artists to assist her in the project; to donate their extraordinary talents in designing sculptures, paintings, mosaics and very unusual art pieces. The pieces were auctioned to collectors who were privileged to acquire one of kind art pieces of historical importance from the Station Fire.

Aryiana said that the proceeds are going to help fire victims who lost everything. One victim said, she had lost her home, her job, and has lost her sense of purpose and place following the fire. We know that the forest will recover from the fire, but the toll to human life, health and welfare is unimaginable and is a very slow and tedious recovery process.

It is difficult to look at innocent fire victims in the eyes to see their pain and suffering, they have lost everything. Their clothes, family heirlooms, their lively hoods and some patrons had been critically burned. We know that the small donations are just a start in the recovery process.

After videotaping the Station Fire for nine long days and narrowly becoming entrapped by the speed and intensity of the fire I am thankful to be alive. In an effort to help those in need, I purchased a few of the items during the silent auction.

The most notable is a unique piece of art called Cosmic Dancer from artist Edward Lee Goldstein. His concept was to take tiny pieces of glass from a shattered tiffany lamp and shards of mirror from the burned home of Ben and Jeanie Fury and form them into a sculpture of a dancer rising from the ashes. The dancer rests a top a piece of granite, portraying a graceful and elegant figure dancing her way to a new beginning. It is a truly one of a kind art piece that has such profound meaning not only to the artist but to the Fury family and myself. It is very strange to see such a beautiful piece of art come out of such a tragic event.

The artist, Edward Goldstein defines himself as a healer, educator, artist and student of life. His art piece, Cosmic Dancer will be prominently displayed in my home near a sculpture from Joyce Killebrew, who designed the Storm King Mountain Memorial in Glenwood Springs Colorado.

Inquiries regarding Healing from the Ashes can be made via email:HealingFromTheAshes@live.com, www.HealingFromTheAshes.org or by calling 818-445-1675. Healing from The Ashes is a Non Profit Organization.

Photos Pictured Jeanie Fury, Edward Goldstein and Jeff Zimmerman, special thanks to Max Warner for taking our picture at the reception.

Additional Photos of Vogel Flats as it appears today. Photos Copyright Jeff Zimmerman

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