Arts & Entertainment

Painting Commemorates Tree of Life Massacre and Honors Victims

Like others, autistic artist is trying to make meaning from the tragedy, and honor the lives lost.


In just a few weeks, Pittsburgh will be remembering one of the city's darkest days. October 27th is the one year anniversary of the mass shooting at Tree of Life Synagogue in the city's Squirrel Hill neighborhood, which took the lives of 11 worshipers. It was the deadliest attack on Jews in U.S. history.

Since then, people have worked to make meaning out of the massacre, to do something constructive, to make a difference, to prove that the community is "stronger than hate."

Jarrod and Kuhoo Edson

One of them is someone our Sparkt community already knows: Jarrod Edson . Jarrod is an artist who has overcome autism and other physical challenges to create stunning pieces that bring joy to others, and make a statement.

Previous story: Young Man and His Art Have Deeper Message

Jarrod and his family live less than a mile from Tree of Life synagogue, so as the anniversary of the attack approached, he decided to create a special commemorative piece. It depicts a colorful tree -- in Jarrod's style -- covered in butterflies. 11 of the butterflies have taken off from the tree, flying toward the heavens, representing each of the 11 victims.

Like all of his work, sales of the Pittsburgh Tree of Life Tribute painting will benefit a charitable organization. His mother Kuhoo explained why that's so important:

The painting is available for purchase now (click here) at Jarrod's website . The family is still deciding on the organization that will benefit from sales, but Kuhoo says it will definitely be a peace-making organization. Jarrod is also working on a one-of-a-kind piece that will be a tribute to David and Cecil Rosenthal, brothers who were killed in the attack. That piece will go to the Rosenthal family.

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