Smiles. That’s the first thing you see when you look at the budding artists gathered around a table. With brushes in hand and pots of paint to dip them in, they’re happily creating their personal masterpieces.
No, this isn’t a classroom at the Vero Beach Museum of Art; these students are participating in an artful engagement program at the Senior Resource Association. Led by artist and certified instructor Dawn Miller, it’s a colorful collaboration between SRA and VBMA that produces joy-filled moments and some pretty amazing results.
Once a week, Miller, who heads up the museum’s Art for Health’s Sake community initiative, and a handful of volunteers who call themselves the Blue Angels, arrive at SRA’s state-licensed Adult Enrichment & Respite facilities in Vero Beach and Sebastian.
“We come in, wearing our blue aprons, and get everyone warmed up by doing exercises like shaking out their hands and singing; then we introduce the project, which could involve watercolors, acrylics, pastels, cut-and-torn paper and clay,” Miller explains.
“The focus is not as much on the end result but on the process, which provides opportunities for people to interact with one another and share a little about themselves. It’s how I learn about who they are and what they’ve done with their lives.