Sunday, July 2, 2017

Pulse Memorial and Candlelight Vigil.

The parking lot of Christ Church Unity Orlando (771 W Holden Ave, Orlando, Florida 32839) was full and we were directed to park on the grass. This vigil happening one year and three days after the Pulse Nightclub massacre was going to be crowded. The invitation noted that no backpacks were allowed in the sanctuary. I decided to use my iPad to sketch so I could leave my bag of watercolor art supplies behind.

A harp player set the mood as we entered the sanctuary. Governor Rick Scott entered with his entourage. Orlando Commissioner Patty Sheehan was also in attendance. The evening was a celebration of life, honoring and remembering the lives so tragically taken in the Pulse Nightclub shooting. It was to be a time of healing, love, and unity for all. The names of the victims were read aloud during the ceremony.

 Pastors from several churches were in attendance along with Terri Stead-Pierce, Senior Pastor of Joy Metropolitan Community Church. Joy has been an open and accepting place of worship for the gay community for over 30 years. After Pulse happened, Joy was overlooked as churches held memorial services to honor those lost. A year later and Joy is no longer being marginalized. Music offered solace as candles were handed out to everyone in attendance. The warm glow lighting each individual face.

After the ceremony, Commissioner Patty Sheehan offered me a hand-made quilt crafted by the Orlando Modern Quilt Guild. The quilt had rainbow colored hearts in bold rows of color. The Central Florida based quilters wanted to help after the Pulse tragedy and so did what they know best, which is to sew. A call to help went out to the quilting community and the response was grand.  Quilts and quilt blocks were created and sent from 22 countries and 50 states. The goal was to gather enough quilts to help not only the victims who survived, but the families of victims who perished, as well as first responders, nurses, police officers, etc. They started with a goal of making about 100 quilts and have now made over 2000.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

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