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News Release: 9/15/2020

September 14, 2020
Bower Center for the Arts
305 N. Bridge Street
Bedford, VA 24523
Contact:  Susan Martin, Executive Director
CommuniTREE Unveiled!
On Friday, September 11 the Bower Center for the Arts and the Bedford Area Chamber of Commerce, with support from the Bedford County Sheriff’s Office, unveiled the CommuniTREE.  This sculpture, showcased in the front window of the Bower Center, was created in response to the turmoil and chaos 2020 has delivered.  COVID-19 forced us apart, quarantine isolated us, social unrest created anger and sadness, and economic uncertainty has caused fear.  Together these have divided the country, wearing on people in many ways. 
Through this project we are providing our community a place where they feel welcomed, included, and valued.  In the leaves of this sculpture you will find positive affirmations - words that can center and ground us, words of power and strength to hold, to find peace and hope. 
It was fitting that the CommuniTREE was unveiled on the 19th anniversary of the September 11th attacks.  Those terrible, horror filled days brought pain and suffering to our nation as well.  But we rose, bound together, and pulled strength from one another.  We focused on rebuilding and healing, channeling the power of what the words in this tree name.  This sculpture is a small way to begin healing the damage of 2020 and bring our community together again.
The CommuniTREE will continue to be on display through October and the community is invited to continue to grow our community through positive messages of hope.   In order to participate, create your own leaf and drop it off at the Bower Center or stop in and leave a positive message on one of our existing leaves.   Help us to continue to fill our tree with creativity and positive messages of hope and love.
Special recognition and thanks go to the artists who helped to bring this project to life.  Lori E. Stetson, Oils and Wire Sculpting Artist, created the tree and Toni Henneman, Watercolor and Zentangle Artist, created the tape art and window design.  Visit the Bower Center to read the artists statements and the impact this project had on their lives.
Bower Center is located at 305 N Bridge St at the intersection with Bedford Avenue in Bedford. Check the website at for future exhibits, classes for youth and adults, events and concerts.  Bower Center for the Arts is a 501c (3) organization offering opportunities for the community to gather, foster creative expression, connect, learn and gain confidence through the process of making and enjoying art.

Caption:  Pictured l to r: Sheriff Mike Miller, Wende Gaylor-BACC President, Susan Martin-Bower Center Executive Director and Emilie Temeles, Bower Center Board Member.