Las Vegas Portraits Project

When Wanda Watson Heffelfinger ’76* heard that her nieces, Kortney Struempf and Ellen Abramo, were coordinating the creation of portraits of every victim of the 2017 Las Vegas shooting and putting together a showing, she knew that she had to participate — and she volunteered fellow artist and alum Elizabeth Lander Purcell ’76*.

Artists all over the world submitted their work for consideration, including Heffelfinger and Purcell. When accepted, each artist was given the name and photo of a victim to transform into a portrait in their own style. Heffelfinger painted the portrait of John Joseph Phippen in acrylic, and Purcell the portrait of Sandra Lee Casey in watercolor.

“There were different levels of artistry, but every style was different,” Heffelfinger said. “And it was all done from the heart.”

Once all the portraits were complete, a showing was held in the Rotunda Gallery of the Clark County Government Center, Nevada, which ran from Sept. 17–Oct. 19, 2018. Families of the victims received the portraits after the showing.

“There were just so many different styles just like there were so many different personalities that were affected by this,” Purcell added, “but you put them all together in this one showing, and it was really beautiful to see that.”

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