It has been said that art has healing powers. After Hurricane Sandy devastated the City of Long Beach, the school district’s elementary art students were asked by art teachers Denise Collins and Stephanie Kornacki to create artwork that captured what Sandy would look like if she were someone we could actually see. This proved to be a very personal work of creation for the young artists, since Sandy caused damage to many of their homes, forced the temporary closure of Lido and West elementary schools and decimated the art studios of those schools in the process.

The students rose to the occasion, producing a startling series of images that captured the fury, majesty and destruction of this very powerful force of nature. From these very personal and very original works of art, the elementary art studios put together a very special exhibit titled “Let the Healing Begin…Through Art,” which opened at Gentle Brew Coffee of Long Beach on Dec 8.

“Allowing our students to personify Sandy gave them an outlet to express their personal feelings in the wake of a disaster that hit very close to home,” said Dr. Dale Johanson, director of comprehensive arts. “The result was a series of thought-provoking, introspective and incredibly imaginative drawings. I would like to extend our thanks to Matt Luyster of Gentle Brew for collaborating with us to host this exhibit.”

The exhibit will be on display at Gentle Brew Coffee, 151 East Park Ave. in Long Beach through the end of December.

Anyone wishing to help Lido and West schools restore their art studios in the wake of Hurricane Sandy can visit and click on the button that says “Hurricane Relief Donate Here.”