Unique artwork to help Ike victims heal

GALVESTON, TX The visceral emotions of hope, despair and love of life are made tangible through fire and metal. Designer Karla Klay keeps vigilant watch on her creation, an ofrenda, or altar made of metal welded together. The wave-like structure is to be used by the public to hang remembrances of Hurricane Ike.

She said, "We wanted something that people can put on either side and it will go around the sculpture that commemorates the Great Storm. So we're tying together the Great Storm and Hurricane Ike and people will be able to walk in the middle of two half circles and place their objects."

Martha Terrilll is making a collage. The Galveston artist wants to share bits and pieces of paper and collectables that survived the storm.

"We all lost so much in the storm," Terrill said. "To do an ofrenda in memory of what we have lost and how we gained and survived, I think is very important."

Anyone can contribute artwork to the ofrenda. It's only about 3feet high and will be easily accessible. The artwork is to be no larger than 81/2 inches by 11inches.

Klay explained, "People can make a collage or a poem or anything they want to say about the Gulf, or their process of healing or recovery. Then all they have to do is laminate it, poke four holes in it and then they can hang it with zip ties on the ofrenda."

Johnnie Hays is helping to weld the artwork. His home on Crystal Beach was destroyed by Ike. The ofrenda has special meaning.

"I hope everybody puts their picture on it. I hope everybody takes the time to at least do something with it. I hope it's full," Hays said. "It affected everybody's lives."

The ofrenda will be placed in Galveston's Fort Crockett Park along the seawall. The artwork will be installed over the weekend, and a special unveiling will be held on Tuesday.

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