Parkland, FL — The tragic and senseless shootings on February 14, 2018 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School forever changed not just the lives of the victim’s families and friends, but it sent shock waves throughout this picturesque town. It’ll never be the same.
Professional artist and Parkland resident, Nava Lundy, a wife and mother of three, remembers the day with clarity.
“My twin daughters were in preschool less than a mile from MSD, and I got the alert that their school went on lockdown,” recalls Lundy. “After that there was no more communication. I was at a park near MSD with my 15-month old, and I didn’t really understand the gravity of it yet. So, I went home with the baby and quickly learned there was a shooter at large. I’ll never be the same after what happened.”
Lundy said she felt gratitude she wasn’t in harm’s way, but at the same time felt grief-stricken and pain for all the victims and their families. Like so many did, she asked herself what could she do to help?
“I communicate with paintings, and I want the families to know how much we care about them,” said Lundy, who volunteered her time creating each painting. “I worked quickly and did two paintings a week, sometimes three — I just felt this sense of urgency.”
She felt connected to each person, and worked hard to capture their personalities in her work.
She started with Alyssa Alhadeff’s portrait, which she delivered to her parents.
“We all broke down together,” she said. “They were so grateful, and they put it up immediately.”
She worked on Jaime Guttenberg’s portrait next. Jaime’s mother, Jennifer, was teaching preschool at the same school Lundy’s daughters attend — and was protecting those children while her own daughter was murdered at MSD.
”She was in lockdown at the preschool, in a closet,” said Lundy. “I got her picture through someone at school and then I realized I needed to do one for every family. I posted paintings on Next Door and asked people to help me get pictures.”
While doing her research on each victim, Lundy saw people connecting through the portraits, and started to realize the positive impact this project would have. She learned a great deal about each person.
”As an artist, you have a feeling in your head and you try to get it across in the painting,” she said. “We also didn’t want MSD to just become another statistic. I know all the parents feel the same way. Plus, it’s so important to have people realize this could happen to you. We have to continually ask ourselves can we create positive change?”
Lundy completed the final portrait on March 28, just 6 weeks after that tragic day. Accompanied by her baby, Harry, she delivered most of the paintings directly to the victim’s families, and each visit was unique. She said some families weren’t ready to talk, but Joaquin Oliver’s father brought them both into his son’s bedroom so they could get a peek into his personality.
”Then, Joaquin’s dad looked at Harry and said ‘well make sure the schools are safe before he goes to school.”
About Nava Lundy
Nava has been a professional artist since 1998, and has been painting for more than 20 years. Her work has been featured in numerous publications, including The Palm Beach Post, The Sun Sentinel, The Chicago Tribune, The Tampa Tribune and The St. Petersburg Times. Her art work has been featured on NBC’s nationally syndicated program Daytime, as well as locally on CBS’s Studio 10. Nava has also been a guest on several radio programs, and regularly conducts lectures on art and art history around Florida through Brandeis University.
Her work has also been used in set designs in several films. To learn more about Lundy’s work, visit www.navagallery.com or visit her Facebook page, Nava Lundy Artist.
by Nava Lundy