Newtown 26, 2012 is a carving that attempts to give meaning to a senseless tragedy. It was created by removing solely 26 cuts or chips of wood from a 12’ round wood plate with a hand held knife. The carving means to represents the hopes, unfulfilled aspirations and tragedy that Newtown has come to represent.
On a surface analysis, the cuts form the symbols representing some of humanity’s greatest hopes. They include the 3 Abrahamic religions (Star of David, Cross and Crescent Moon and Star) as well as a peace sign and a heart. Unfortunately, just as our finest aspirations remain unfulfilled, so too the carving remains unfinished in the area surrounding the star and the central heart is broken.
The outer circle represents the tragedy of Newtown. Fragments of the 26 cuts, in all shapes and sizes, are attached to nails. The 26th nail has no observable cut, only a tag and the name, Newtown 26, 2012.
Aside from the above analysis, the carving can also represent brain functioning. The inner symbols representing healthy thought processes and the human potential for synthesizing promising, even if not perfect, ideas and concepts. The outer symbols representing a more fragmented and incomplete thought process.
Mental health is among the many issues that the Newtown tragedy has brought to light. Presently there is a serious lack of comprehensive mental health services available in our communities for individuals without significant means. This carving was created with the hopes of increasing both awareness and funding for community mental health services.
Jewish Family Service, a licensed and accredited Connecticut not for profit mental health agency, has been providing comprehensive mental health services available to all Connecticut residents for the past 90 years. This recent economic downturn has severely limited the agency’s ability to provide these essential mental health services. Individuals in desperate need are no longer able to obtain them.