MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Jessica Schaffhausen is auctioning off 100 pieces of her late daughters’ artwork.
The money will be used to build a playground in their memory.
Amara, Sophie and Cecelia were just 11, 8 and 5 when they were murdered by their father, Aaron Schaffhausen, last summer. He is now serving life in prison.
Jessica Schaffhausen says the playground will not only be a place to remember her girls, but a place the entire community can enjoy.
In a River Falls art gallery Thursday, Jessica Schaffhausen was showing off her girls’ art work, much of it remarkable for such young children.
“It’s a bit gut-wrenching,” she said. “I miss them very much, and I look around at this and I see how incredibly talented they were.”
She will be keeping some pieces for herself, like a pencil drawing of a bird by Sophie, the two-line story of a caterpillar by Cecelia and a decorative mask by Amara.
The rest will be auctioned off to help raise the $550,000 needed to build a state-of-the-art handicapped accessible playground. The plans were unveiled Thursday.
“That is my main goal…to help bring people here for a positive reason,” Schaffhausen said.
The City of River Falls has not given final approval for a playground site, but Schaffhausen would like it to be built at Hoffman Park, which holds an old playground where the girls would often play.
Hoffman Park is across the street from the girls’ school, and it adjoins the cemetery where they are buried.
Schaffhausen says focusing on a playground that will bring joy to other children helps her.
“I just want something good to come out of what happened to my daughters,” she said.
Schaffhausen hopes the playground will be built by 2015.
Bids on the girls’ artwork will be taken at the gallery in person and over the phone through Aug. 21.
The gallery address is:
120 North Main St.
River Falls, Wis. 54022
For more information on the playground, click here.