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story.lead_photo.caption Painted rocks and flower pots display their messages of love and encouragement Tuesday, June 18, 2019, at Capital Arts in Jefferson City. Photo by Mark Wilson / News Tribune.

After the May 22 tornado hit Jefferson City, Capital Arts wanted to give back to the community through the arts and found a way in painting rocks and flower pots for those affected by the damage.

"We saw a lot of other groups volunteering with labor and removing damage, and we wanted to do something more relevant to us through the arts," Capital Arts board President Holly Nunn said.

The group has partnered with the Boys & Girls Club of Jefferson City, and many of the children have been involved in painting the rocks and pots.

"We were thrilled to participate," BGC Executive Director Stephanie Johnson said. "Just driving down that street and seeing all that damage, it would be great to see color and brightness."

The club currently has 20 children who have been displaced by the tornado, including some whose homes were on Jackson Street, Johnson said. The club offers the summer camp to them at no cost.

Johnson said the project is special for those children in particular.

"These kids who have been displaced have gone through something traumatic, and expressing through art is therapeutic for them," Johnson said.

Johnson has been really impressed with the children's reactions to painting the rocks.

"I went by the art room and saw the rocks, and it really touched my heart the level of detail on the rocks," Johnson said. "You could tell it really meant something to them."

The club also plans to participate in distributing the art, and Johnson said they are going to make it a big event.

The club will have its drumline lead the group down Jackson Street as they place signs in the yards of homes damaged. The signs will have a quote on them along with a child's handprint.

"We want it to be a really strong visual; when you look down the street you see a positive message in the destruction," Johnson said.

The organizations will schedule the distribution of the art in coming weeks.

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