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Letcher County teacher lifts the community's spirits with art

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Posted at 7:20 PM, Aug 26, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-26 19:26:46-04

WHITESBURG, Ky. (LEX 18) — Tyler Watts, also referred to as the "Post-It Picasso," is a second-grade teacher at Letcher Elementary. Normally he’d be preparing for the new school year, but the floods have delayed that start. Now, he’s working on unique murals he hopes will brighten downtown Whitesburg — with post-its.

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“I try to find things that a lot of people can relate to. I try not to do just things that are hot right now,” says Watts.

This artist takes something this small and turns it into something this big. He says that he can use anywhere from 1,000 to 10,000 post-its to create his murals. His goal is to bring this community joy.

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“I want it to reach a lot of different age groups sometimes I almost run out of ideas but I try to find things that kids can relate to just as much as adults can," says Watts.

Watts has been creating these works for years, usually around the holidays. Now, Watts is approaching local business owners to lend space for the post-it pictures to help lift this community’s spirits. The owner of 1842 Boutique, Katie Caudill, who has been collecting toys for children impacted by the floods, knew she wanted to participate.

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“They face so many obstacles and devastation throughout... and now the flooding, so I just think this will give something for them to see and enjoy,” says Caudill.

Watts says the city saw so much devastation.

He shares, “It's pretty simple — if you drive up and down the street, there's so much debris ... houses literally turned inside out.”

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Tired of what he saw, he pushed for a change.

“So I just thought if I could just put a drop in the bucket by doing something big like or little like the mural that you see behind me maybe it'll give the kids something to look forward to," says Watts.

Now he says this community will have to recover one day at a time, but as they drive by these murals, he hopes they can do it with a smile.

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“Each day if you look at the day that's behind us, you'll see that it's a little bit brighter and that's the goal, baby steps,” says Watts.

To donate toys to Letcher County children impacted by the floods, you can visit:

https://www.amazon.com/hz/wishlist/dl/invite/12vWRpo?ref_=wl_share