Like most, Deborah Linck was moved to hopelessness and despair by the attacks of Sept. 11.
"I watched as others found their place in the midst of tragedy and reached out to comfort and help others. I wondered what my part was," said Linck, a 45-year-old kindergarten teacher. Three days later, she had a brainstorm.
"I said aloud: 'I think I'll write a children's book about 9/11. There are parents out there who don't have the words to share with their youngsters to help them process these life-altering events."
She explained her idea to her daughter, Magdalene, 12, and son, Peter, 10, who were eager to help. They drew on sketchpads with colored pencils and made it a family event.
I wanted to help people," said Peter. "There was nothing I could do as a kid, but this is a way I could help. The book made me feel proud to help people deal with emotions."
Maggie, who was 11 when she drew the illustrations, agreed. "I thought it would help people understand and feel better," she said.
Days later, Dan Linck took his wife's text and children's photos to work at Phoenix Creative, a St. Louis marketing and design firm, where, with a designer's help, donated paper and printing, a 28-page book was published. It sells for $5 and all proceeds go to relief efforts.
Deborah Linck's text and the illustrations by Maggie and Peter, who with their parents attend Christ Church Cathedral in St. Louis, is one of a broad selection of works by Episcopal artists in the exhibition "After September 11th" on the Web site of the Episcopal Church and Visual Arts.
It was several weeks after the terrorist attacks when the ECVA board discussed how it could respond to the horrific events of that day. "We decided on a show beginning in Lent that would exhibit artistic reflections ... on the events of that day or how our lives have subsequently been changed," says the curators' statement on the site.
They invited work from a variety of sources, including Episcopal professional and amateur artists, Sunday schools and youth groups, prayer memorials, service bulletin graphics and other expressions showing the variety of faith responses to the tragedy.
"When the hijacked plane flew into the second of the Twin Towers, I was immediately struck by the image of the cross," said C.K.R. Alford of Port Gibson, Miss.
She began to paint a cross, using symbols on each of the arms. "The dragon on the left represents evil, the cock on the right represents vigilance and the phoenix, a symbol that has its origin in the Middle East, represents the resurrection, life after death," she explained. "The circle at the foot is a zero and, together with the triangle, is the familiar subway sign for the New York underground train. The triangle is symbolic of the Trinity and the eye is the eye of God."
For Alford, the daughter of a church musician who was raised in Episcopal churches in Kentucky and Tennessee, church symbols have been important. Her "Crucifixion at Ground Zero" was created from acrylic paints, colored inks, glazing and gold leaf.
Jennifer Murphy of Echo Park, Calif., another exhibitor on the Web site, has been a decorative painter in the Los Angeles area for 15 years, painting fabrics, furniture, walls, ceilings, buildings, objects and even people.
A graduate of the California Institute of the Arts, whose clients have included such celebrities as Madonna and Vanna White, she used folded, burnt and collaged paper, wire and a wooden shelf to create "Exegesis."
"The papers used to create the flowers and the collage are actual pages from the Bible, the Torah and the Koran, the holy books of the main parties involved in the crisis," she said. "By tearing these holy books up, partially burning them, then mixing the texts together in this form, I hope to convey the need to break down and transform rigid religious dogma."
"Through the catalysts of fire and creativity, the actual words, so often used to justify violence, become almost abstract patterns. To interpret them, exegesis, is now a matter of authorized intuition."
A total of 40 pieces of art, photographs, collages and ceramic work are displayed in the exhibit by Episcopal artists. Additional work is welcomed during the duration of the exhibition.
To view the complete exhibition, visit http://www.ecva.org/.