Art Provides Therapy for Shelter Residents
In early May, residents at Westhab's Vaughn Glanton Employment Residence (VGER) - a homeless shelter for single working men - displayed dozens of pieces of art - their original art - during a very inspiring arts exhibit. The exhibit represented the culmination of an arts residency at the VGER led by Wilmer Orellana, a visual artist from ArtsWestchester. Hosted every Wednesday night in the basement of the VGER, Mr. Orellana's painting and sketching workshops represented an important time of day for VGER residents. Paul Daniels, a resident and avid workshop participant, summarized the experience well. "It's so nice to do something where you can express yourself. It was a lot of fun and actually very therapeutic. I never missed a class!"
For other residents, like Edward Carter, classes were especially meaningful. Having lost his wife and son in a car accident in 2008, Mr. Carter suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. "I believe in treatment and therapy," said Carter. "We all need an outlet to let off steam. I'm used to other forms of therapy, but this program was excellent." Carter alone created over a dozen pieces of art. Eventually, he noticed a shift in his mood, and his art, transitioning from darker colors to brighter tones as workshops progressed. "I needed something to take me out of the space that I was in. I could identify my moods and how I was feeling through my art and I 've learned to appreciate art so much more."
Arts residencies at Westhab are made available through grants provided by ArtsWestchester and serve as a critical source of enrichment for Westhab participants. Westhab extends our sincere thanks to ArtsWestchester for their steadfast support of our programs.