Simple Gifts; Jim Mahanes

In 2006, a deranged man named Charles Carl Roberts went into an Amish school in Nickel Mines, Lancaster County, and shot and killed five girls before committing suicide. The Amish community decided to respond not with anger or calls for vengeance but with radical forgiveness for the shooter and his family.

Jim Mahanes was inspired to create a series of thirty paintings portraying the Amish people and their community after visiting with Amish youth and viewing a documentary film about this incident, “The Power of Forgiveness,” produced by Martin Doblmeier of Journey Films.

In this Platform, Mahanes will share his paintings and his fascination with the process of forgiveness among the Amish children who had been traumatized by the loss of their schoolmates. How do the developmental emotions of grief and anger coincide with the cultural expectations to forgive?

Since 1975, watercolorist Jim Mahanes has painted the American land-scape with both realism and imaginative interpretation. A self-taught artist, Mahanes has advanced degrees in the behavioral sciences and practices family therapy in Louisville, Kentucky. He has been a faculty member of the University of Kentucky for more than 23 years. His art is the primary focus in his life now, however. According to the artist, “There is a close parallel between painting and therapy. The perceptual skills demanded of a clinician enhance the creative approach to painting and vice versa.”

You can visit to see his Amish images.