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Dayton Metro Library opens new interactive art exhibit to promote hope and positive thinking

Garrett Reese
People can come in, color a butterfly, and then add it to the exhibit until October 1.

To honor the lives lost in the Oregon District mass shooting 3 years ago, Dayton Metro Library opened a new art exhibit this week.

It’s been a little over 3 years since the mass shooting in the Oregon District. To honor the lives lost, and to promote hope and positive thinking, the Dayton Metro Library opened a new interactive art exhibit on Thursday.

"It just kind of made sense to bring the butterfly into it, a symbol of change and hope," said Leesa Haapapuro, a Dayton artist.

She was front and center Thursday for the introduction of the Kaleidoscope of Butterflies Art Project and Tree of Life Memorial at the downtown Dayton Metro Library.

The Tree of Life Memorial is a work of art put together by 9 artists back in 2020 after the Oregon District shooting. The Memorial is 9 unique pieces of art meant to represent each artist's interpretation of honoring those killed. To add to the exhibit, people can now come in and color a butterfly to add to it.

Samantha Mang is one of the artists who worked on the original Tree of Life memorial.

"It encompasses all that this memorial was intended to do by bringing people together," Mang explained. "It added another component of healing, of support, of remembrance, but now also hope."

It will be at the library until October 1.

Garrett is a WYSO intern and graduate of University of Dayton. He spent time covering the Dayton area with WDTN Channel 2 News after the 2019 Memorial Day Tornado outbreak. It was around this time that he began listening to NPR and fell in love with radio-based journalism. Garrett graduated from UD in May of 2021 with his Bachelor’s in Communications with a focus in journalism and graduated in May of 2022 with his Master’s. While not working at WYSO, Garrett is an avid reader, loves to play video games, and hanging out with his friends.