CASTLETON CORNERS — A Staten Island artist is paying tribute to the 20 children killed by a gunman in Sandy Hook, Conn.
Artist Scott LoBaido, best known for painting American flags across all 50 states, has turned the lights on for his “20 Angels — From One Heartbroken Community to Another” public art piece on the front lawn of St. Theresa Roman Catholic Church on Victory Boulevard.
LoBaido constructed 20 different angels out of aluminum foil, chicken wire, tape, table clothes and 7,000 donated lights to remind passers-by to keep the memory of the children fresh.
“Everything's fast,” he said. “People forget things that they should not forget and this is one of those things. These people are still suffering.”
“I hope it just moves people, and people driving by will think and say, ‘Hey, let me think about those kids, let me go light a candle today,” he said.
LoBaido said that he looked at the pictures and read the biography of each victim and tried to make each angel represent their personalities.
“I looked at the pictures of each child, I read their bios,” he said. “You don't see the personalities, but I do.”
LoBaido received donated Christmas lights from people around the borough for the piece, and local businesses supplied him with the other materials.
He said the piece was a way to show Staten Island’s support to the community of Newtown, as they both deal with tragedies at their home. Staten Island is still struggling to cope after the devastation of Hurricane Sandy.
“It’s not about me, I’m just a messenger,” he said. "This is from the community, this is all from this community.
“Even though we're a state away, we feel your pain because we're in pain.”
The piece will stay lit every night from 5 p.m. till midnight until Wednesday, Jan. 16.
After that, LoBaido hopes to install the piece in a community close to Newton, and add angels for the six teachers who lost their lives.