Village Center for the Arts is a nonprofit art center nestled in the heart of New Milford. A quaint little town in Litchfield County, in the Northeastern part of Connecticut.
We teach art, it’s our thing, in a very relaxed and fun environment. Therefore, when we saw a large community of senior citizens in our area that could not afford to take our classes and not having much in the way of fun creative outlets, we set some wheels in motion. Well, truth be told, Sharon Kaufman, our executive director got the wheel turning.
She proposed a grant for seniors so they could enjoy, learn, thrive and have all the benefits that come with the arts. Creating and expressing with your own hands.
With a grant from Connecticut Community Foundation, we were able to offer seniors 60+ the opportunity to take watercolor classes or clay sculpture with two of our best teachers in their chosen field. With the grant, we were able to keep the price to a minimum.
We have had one session of classes this past year and each and our classes fill up fast. The most amazing thing to see was how many of these people never tried creating with clay or watercolor.
Meeting them and seeing them improve, and amaze themselves, was one of the best things I have had the pleasure to be a part of. Witnessing things beyond just art, there was also some great connections amongst the seniors. Some were lonely and found a friend; some thought they could not actually do anything beyond a stick figure. They all had a great time, to say the least. The satisfaction goes beyond just gratifying, we actually changed lives through connecting. In the spirit of mental health awareness, art is also a great way to express your emotions without words, process complex feelings and find relief. Sculpture and Watercolor is a relaxing and inspiring activity for our seniors. However, the particular benefits of artistic expression go much further than relaxation and enjoyment – it can be very valuable in treating issues such as depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and even some phobias.
We are about to embark on another set of classes soon. 8 weeks of watercolor, and 8 weeks of clay sculpture. We cannot wait to see how it turns out.
Anyone that works for a nonprofit knows the amount of work that goes into it, the volunteer hours, and the love that you pour into your belief, but it is all worth it when you get a hug from someone because you made their life better through it. That is why we do it.
So the next time you see our green and white striped awning in New Milford, stop by and say hi. Remember behind these doors, the crazy splattered wall of paint, and floor of magazine pages you can walk on, there are some life-changing things going on. It only starts with one idea at a time. Moreover, remember to donate or volunteer for a nonprofit. Connecting makes the world a better place!