Art for the Journey overcomes barriers and transform lives through creative expression, with a special focus on people who do not normally have access to such experiences. We provide a range of art programs aimed at bringing a sense of wellbeing and even healing within an environment of personal engagement, support and celebration. Our five staff and cohort of 250+ artists and community volunteers travel in teams to provide instruction and art-making experiences to women in prison, low income elderly, at-risk children, children with Juvenile Diabetes, older adults with dementia and Alzhiemer's, veterans suffering PTSD and combat related disabilities, VCU medical students, VCU Occupational Therapy Doctoral students, and community groups. We also provide studio classes in painting and drawing for the general public. Our key mission programs are provided without regard to ability to pay. Studio classes and some special events are supported by fees.
Adult Studio Classes
This program provides a variety of studio classes for adults. The classes are open to the general public and taught by local professional artists in a variety of media. Some class offerings provide all materials. Fees are charged and scholarships are available for some classes. These classes aim to develop drawing and painting skills in a social atmosphere that is positive and supportive.
Summer Art Camps for Children
These programs provide a fun, safe and stimulating art experience for children 8 to 14 years old in half day or specially scheduled sessions.. Programs include Fun Fridays in partnership with The Youth Life Foundation (see separate description), Anna Julia Cooper School Summer Camp (two weeks of sessions), and Camp Wannacure (one day experience), a summer camp for children with Juvenile Diabetes in partnership with the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation. Sessions are conducted by practicing artists and teachers experienced in working with children. All activities are developmentally appropriate for the age group served. These workshops take place at Art for The Journey's Independence Golf Club studio, Anna Julia Cooper School and locations chosen by the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation.
Marywood Art Group for Low Income Seniors
This is a monthly acrylic painting class conducted at Marywood, a residence for low income and disabled elderly, that includes a significant number of Eastern European immigrants. Classes are conducted by a combination of professional artists and volunteers. The class is aimed at giving participants an opportunity to create art and experience a positive community of support. This experience addresses isolation, builds relationships and grows a sense of well-being that diminishes many of the negative aspects of limited mobility and disability. The class serves up to 15 painters at a time.
Women's Prison Art Program
This program provides weekly charcoal and oil painting classes at the Virginia Correctional Center for Women in Goochland, VA. Participants are chosen by the staff based on interest and eligibility. Classes are provided by a combination of professional artists and volunteers who have been through the Department of Corrections' volunteer training program and have passed the necessary background checks. Up to eight women participate at a time. The program aims to develop drawing and painting skills and provide a positive experience that will ultimately reduce recidivism.
Fun Fridays for Underserved Children
This is a monthly painting program for underserved children from Richmond City through a partnership with the Youth Life Foundation (YLF). YLF provides after school programs for at-risk and low income children from Richmond's public housing communities and love income neighborhoods. These 1.5 hour programs take place at both YLF's program locations and Art for the Journey's Frable Studio in Midlothian, VA, via transportation provided by YLF. These programs serve up to 25 children at a time and produce beautiful original art pieces which are taken home by the children.
The Carmel School Art Club
Every week when school is in session, the cafeteria at The Carmel School in Ruther Glen, Virginia transforms into a pop-up art studio, complete with French easels, paints, canvases, drawing paper and charcoal. Middle schoolers flock to find a spot and get creating. On special dates, we also get to deliver special art sessions after school for grades K-5, integrating art and literature for inspired results. Art Club is a unique place for taxed private schoolers to be able to focus on something besides grades, and channel their imaginative energies productively. Or, as parents might say, they get a dose of healthy endorphins without looking at a smartphone! The low-key atmosphere calms anxieties, while the creative synergy of the studio inspires them to make something original. Beyond teaching art techniques and supplying craft materials, we offer safe creative space for individuals to learn and express themselves.
Anna Julia Cooper School Art Program
Once a week, Art for the Journey rolls into Anna Julia Cooper School, a haven tucked amidst housing projects, to deliver a day of rich and diverse art lessons to 4th – 8th graders. Students receive professional art instruction and are given the tools to engage in therapeutic self-expression and visual arts exploration. Students engage in a rich range of art experiences within a nurturing, structured, and person-centered environment. The curriculum immerses children in the artwork of influential artists and cultures, facilitating appropriate exploration through discussion and in standard media techniques. The students respond to the content through drawing, painting, pastel, paper collage, weaving, mask-making, clay, jewelry-making, and mixed media work. With a small student-to-teacher ratio, the children are guided in critical thinking and design process, creative expression and self-reflection. These practices become tools they use, not just to navigate their own formative life circumstances, but to reinforce the emotional intelligence and creative resilience they need to grow into flourishing community leaders.
Veterans Art Program
This project, in partnership with the Hunter Holmes McGuire Veterans Hospital in Richmond, promotes healing and hope among Veterans with PTSD and combat related disabilities by drawing participants into a creative community of art-making. It is well established that art-making contributes to wellbeing and healing. The NEA Military Healing Arts Network (https://www.arts.gov/national- initiatives/creative-forces) promotes placing creative arts therapies at the core of patient-centered care in all military medical facilities. Beginning in 2018, in partnership with the McGuire Veterans Hospital, Art for the Journey began a Veterans Arts Program that brings a range of art-making experiences to veterans with PTSD and combat- related disabilities, both at the hospital and at our Frable Studio in Midlothian. We hold several exhibitions per year of art from this program at the VA Hospital and other community locations. Veteran- artists, their families, and the public attend these events. CBS 6 coverage of our first exhibit is available here: http://via.wtvr.com/QXVhb.
Opening Minds through Art (OMA), a Program for Older Adults with Dementia and Alzheimer's
In June 2015 three staff/volunteers were trained and certified in the "Opening Minds Through Art" (OMA), a national best practice model of working with dementia and Alzheimer's patients developed by The Scripps Gerontology Institute in Ohio. This weekly program was implemented in March 2016 at St. Mary's Woods, an assisted living facility in Richmond, VA. The program now annually serves up to twenty residents involved in the institution's memory unit and impacts up to 25 volunteers, 60 family members, 60 facilitators-in-training and innumerable members of the community who visit the sessions and attend the two art exhibits. Besides providing two ten-week sessions at St. Mary's Woods, Art for The Journey has been authorized to train and certify "facilitators" to take the program to additional assisted living sites throughout Central Virginia. Art for the Journey has trained and certified 56 new OMA Facilitators in 2017-2019 from over 19 assisted living facilities from Virginia, nearby states and Canada. We have seen OMA implemented in seven Virginia facilities, four in the Richmond region. We estimate over 100 elders are involved in these programs overall, impacting over 400 family members.