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Survivors Of 1989 Stockton School Shooting Turn To Art For Healing


An art exhibit that just opened in Stockton was born out of the most violent tragedy in the city's history. The survivors of one of the first mass school shootings in the country are hoping art can promote change.

A lone gunman killed 5 children, wounded 29 others and a teacher at the 1989 Cleveland School shooting. Survivors like former kindergarten teacher Barbara Sarkany have turned to art to heal the wounds.

“I try not to let the memory be the sole memory,” says Sarkany.

Sarkany and others from Cleveland School have put on the Art Against Violence exhibit to help others affected by violence.

“When I look at the art I’m overwhelmed and it touches me deeply, it made me happy,” says Sarkany.

Joy Neas is one of the more than 30 artists contributing to the show/ With her art, she shares her anguish.

“I’m making art and that’s how I’m being my best, instead of being violent, what can you do to be better,” says Neas.

The free exhibit runs until April 2 and is open Wednesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the San Joaquin County Fairgrounds in Stockton.


Rich Ibarra

Contributing Central Valley/Foothills Reporter

As the Central Valley correspondent, Rich Ibarra covers San Joaquin, Stanislaus, and Merced counties, along with the foothill areas including Tuolumne and Calaveras counties. He covers politics, the economy and issues affecting the region.   Read Full Bio 

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