Tucson singer-songwriter Linda Chorney had two choices in the days and weeks after the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings: "blow a circuit over the insanity" of it all, or channel her anger into art
She chose the latter, penning a song about the bombing's youngest victim, 8-year-old Martin Richard. She had hoped the song would provide a bit of comfort to the Richard family, but she had another idea: she would use proceeds from downloads of the song to commission an artist to forever memorialize the boy in bronze.
She teamed up with an artist friend, painter David Wells Roth, who recommended sculptor Victoria Guerina. She signed onto the project and within months had sent Chorney a small version of the bronze statue.
Chorney, who made national headlines in 2012 when she was nominated for a Grammy Award as an unknown self-produced indie artist, sent the model to the Richard family. In November 2014, father Bill Richard let Chorney and Guerina know the family was interested in the project, which was supported by Bridgewater State University, where Martin Richard's parents attended college. The university renamed its social justice institute the Martin Richard Institute for Social Justice in honor of the boy.
Chorney performed the song at the Sept. 26 dedication ceremony in Massachusetts, where she grew up. The song pays tribute to Martin, who was photographed holding a handmade sign that read: "No more hurting people. Peace." He made the sign as part of a class project unrelated to the marathon.
Chorney included Martin's inspiring words in the song, which wonders aloud what Martin would have done if he had not been killed.
Martin Richard was one of three people who died when bombs exploded at the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon, injuring at least 264 others.
At the Sept. 26 ceremony, Chorney called Martins sign his art and said she believed he would have grown up to be an artist.
"Art heals; art makes a difference," she said by cell phone Friday as she was making plans to return home to Tucson.