Cheering the runners at the Boston Marathon who are Boston Strong
Sand artist Joe Castillo molds a figure of strength and beauty as a silent magician who has no need of a wand. With a sweep of the hand and a trace of a finger, he captivates his audience with each grain of sand as he shapes a picture of Boston Strong.
A former finalist of the television show America’s Got Talent, Castillo does not just make sand art, he tells a story with each creation. By scattering sand across a light table, the artist has entertained audiences worldwide with his unique medium of storytelling.
Joe Castillo’s portrait of Boston Strong represents light triumphing over darkness, and the goodness in people overshadowing all that seeks to destroy it. Grains of sand start small, but have the ability to evolve into mountains over time. On the same note, small acts of kindness can build upon each other to effect peace upon the world.
The story of Boston Strong is so much more than the shape of a solitary runner emerging through a mist of sand. It is a story of strength, heroism, and humanity emerging from smoky chaos. It is a story of a nation rallying behind the Boston community and the historic event for which it is so well known. It is a story of determination and perseverance as many runners and supporters found the courage to run and cheer again, despite the risks.
A common thread between runners and artists like Joe Castillo is the ability to commune with the soul. They absorb the world around them, and use that connection to fuel something greater than the self. The artist finds strength in sensory expression and perhaps, solitude. The runner finds strength in each footfall, each breath and, perhaps, solitude, as well. Running is generally thought of as a solitary sport; however, in reality runners have a great sense of community and support. This altruism has never been evidenced more clearly than it was at the Boston Marathon of 2013.
On April 15, 2013, the lives of many runners, spectators, service professionals, friends and family were forever changed as explosions rocked the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Acts of selflessness and bravery by runners and bystanders alike saved many lives in the wake of the bombings. Despite the unforgettable tragedies that occurred that day, all of those affected have emerged strong and unified. They are not victims. They are survivors, and they are Boston Strong. It takes a special soul to translate their story, and Joe Castillo is one such individual.