CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — In one black-and-white image, a teenager in a hoodie stands on a field, hand outstretched, gripping a football. In another picture, seven students lie in the grass, eyes closed, using their bodies to spell out the initials "K'' and "C."
Another image features torn up chunks of asphalt. A poster board sign sits atop the jagged pieces of street, reading: "Justice 4 K.C.! Stop the violence."
Nine months after Kydaryune Curry was gunned down on a northeast Charlotte street over an act of perceived disrespect, 40 of his schoolmates at Charlotte United Christian Academy have channeled their pain and loss into works of art.
The result is "The Justice Project For KC," an art exhibit that opened last week at the Mint Museum on Randolph Road and runs through May.
The project combines memories of the teen known as K.C. and the things he loved, with a strong message about the effects of gun violence.
And teachers hope it will also help his loved ones heal.
"Some of (the art) is more literal, and some is more symbolic," said Christi Smith, who teaches art at Charlotte United and called K.C. one of her favorite students.
She said one reason she encouraged students to embark on the project last September was to help them work out complex feelings of loss.
"It's been good for them to creatively work through their loss. . It's a way to unconsciously search through or force yourself to look through things that, most times, humans would be tempted to repress," she said.
K.C. was a popular student at Charlotte United - a football star who befriended people from diverse backgrounds. He loved cars and dreamed of studying automotive technology, his mom said. He hoped one day to work on drag racers.
He was beaten then shot to death because he wouldn't tell another teenager his name, police say.