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FORT MYERS | Healing through art after Hurricane Ian destruction

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Posted at 7:11 PM, Sep 28, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-28 19:12:36-04

SANIBEL, Fla. — A year after Hurricane Ian devastated Southwest Florida some of us are still seeing signs of destruction.

Others are seeing recovery, hope and, in some cases... art.

Art pieces such as these shown below capture the 'Eye of the Storm' with tears, and a man pulling a wagon trekking his way through Sanibel's post-storm muck tell the story of Ian in a creative way.

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The art pieces are a part of the "Storm Stories" display at the Alliance for the Arts in Fort Myers.

Laura Bell is one of those artists and while she is known for painting Florida scenes. Her storm story is a little different.

Bell also works at the Sanibel Post office and told Fox 4 that when crews made it there after Ian, they found something in the dark and muck.

“They said there was a huge gator by the Postmaster’s office,” said Bell.

Bella posted about the Gator on Facebook and it went viral. People online started giving it a nickname... "The Mail-a-gator".

“In such a scary, dark, depressing, traumatic time….people found joy. I said…I need to do something good with this.”

That is when Bell had an idea. She did what many artists would do and she began to paint. She put her Mail-a-gator on t-shirts sold them and donated the money back to local businesses on Sanibel.

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“I love how every artist can make beauty out of all of this. This is our reality right now…and it’s going to be for a long time.”

Bell says the beauty isn't just in the artwork itself, but the work's ability to capture and connect.