Richmond seniors, students create masterpieces through art program

Richmond seniors, students create masterpieces through art program

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - One group of seniors is discovering that there is an artist inside all of us through a special program called Opening Minds Through Art.

The seniors are paired with college students to create masterpieces. However, throughout the process, they are developing so much more.

Two heads are better than one. At least, that's the case with VCU junior Sydney White and Bill Sharp.

“Sydney is my muse. She’s a guide,” said Sharp.

They create art, but not just any art. They bring color, creativity and character to life.

"He is already kind of ahead of the game with knowing a lot of the art words and composition and how to actually make art," said White.

There is an artist in everyone.
There is an artist in everyone. (Source: NBC12)

White and Sharp are one of several artistic duos who are part of the Opening Minds Through Art program at St. Mary’s Woods Senior Living Community.

In this ten-week program, presented by the nonprofit Art for the Journey, everyone is an artist.

"I never really did any art on my own except when I was in grammar school and used to paste things on paper," said Sharp.

Here, the seniors are paired with VCU college students or other community volunteers, and they design abstract works of art.

“You can be a famous artist at any age,” said St. Mary’s Woods Community Relations Coordinator Nan Pascal.

However, they all gain so much more than pretty pictures to hang on walls.

"It's the relationship between young people and older people. Each of them learns from one another. It's about building confidence in people who think they can't do things," said Pascal.

“It’s a wonderful thing to see how the combination of friendship and personal engagement along with art-making can create a wonderful environment and bring well being and sometimes even healing to people,” said Art for the Journey president Mark Hierholzer.

People like White and Sharp, who have truly become best friends while bonding through art.

“It’s really fun to be in a community doing art, meeting people and helping people. It’s really, really fun,” said White.

At the end of the program, the artists display and celebrate their work in a special art exhibit.

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