By: Jen Russon
St. Louis born brothers Steven and William Ladd’s art has filled museums and public spaces from Honolulu to Hialeah, and just about everywhere in between.
Best known for their scroll landscapes – large-scale collaborative works meant to help communities express themselves through art, the Ladds primarily work with embattled members of society, such as prison inmates, autistic youth and kids living in high crime areas.
Their latest piece, “The Power of Art: Inspiring Community Healing after Gun Violence” is the second public art installation in a five-part series that began at the Coral Springs Museum of Art after they won a $1 million grant from the Bloomberg Philanthropies.
The Ladds’ Scrollathon, which Steven said was immensely fulfilling to watch 1,000 people come together and work on, comes on the fiery heels of the Temple of Time.
“When you come into a community like this that brings in an arts and healing program, you expect this seriousness at every level, and we’ve just gotten nothing but joy from the community we’ve worked with,” he said.
Steven and Willam supported the communities’ joint quest to come together, adding it was their job to listen and let them take ownership of the massive art project that began in April.
“Each person makes a work of art to keep [for themselves],” said Steven. “They collaborate with a larger community on a work of art, and there’s a part where they’re one on one with us, and they’re documented for a permanent record.”
The artistic medium of a wall-sized scroll represents an arc of healing, and each time a Scrollathon is created, the brothers see the healing from emotional pain first-hand.
Participants in Parkland’s “Growth and Strength” installation were invited to stand before their peers to present and explain their artworks. Former participants in Scrollathon projects said it reminded them of the positive changes they hope to make.
“I hope everybody thinks about values when they leave, and that we helped them plant this seed that maybe they can think about something a little further down the line in their own lives,” said Steven.
The ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Scrollathon will be held on Saturday, June 8, at 3:00 p.m. The public is invited to attend and view the fruits of 1,000 people’s efforts to express themselves in the aftermath of the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas.
The Parkland Recreation and Enrichment Center is located at 10559 Trails End in Parkland.
- Jen Russon is a freelance writer and English Language Arts teacher. She has published two novels to Amazon Kindle and lives in Coral Springs with her family.