The Medford Arts Center is providing veterans throughout Burlington County with the opportunity to express themselves artistically with a new initiative.
The Medford Arts Center is providing veterans throughout Burlington County with the opportunity to express themselves artistically with a new initiative to give those who have and are serving in the military an outlet for creative expression — The Veteran’s Workshop.
The genesis of the program emerged six months ago when Medford Art’s teacher Art Smith expressed his desire to have a place veterans can go for free art classes, according to President of the Board Jeffrey Lucas.
Lucas said when he was presented with the idea, everyone at the center was “thrilled” to be a platform for this program.
The classes have expanded from just a few veterans to roughly 14 attending every class, according to Lucas. With more veterans coming every month, Lucas said the classes have been a success and will continue to be.
“If they keep showing up and bringing friends you know you’re doing something right,’’ Lucas said.
Normally it is $25 for a two-hour session, but this complimentary art class welcomes all veterans, free of charge, including supplies such as canvases, paints, brushes and more provided by Stout & Caldwell Engineers, LCC, a corporate sponsor for the class.
Daniel J. Caldwell, partner and chief marketing officer of Stout & Caldwell, LLC echoed Lucas’ sentiment, adding the cause is near and dear to his heart. With a brother as a retired Green Beret in the Army and a sister in the Navy, this program holds a “special” place in his heart, so being a sponsor was an easy ‘yes.’ He believes the classes will not only be therapeutic but help foster friendship among veterans from all over South Jersey.
“We support veterans and we think it’s a great program,” Caldwell said. “It’s a welcoming social event that is an outlet for people to express themselves.”
The class takes place on the fourth Friday every month from 9 a.m. to noon, according to Lucas. Smith teaches the classes, but more teachers have been added for more “variety” in the program. Classes are a wonderful way to experience different mediums, with veterans learning how to make anything from collages to oil paintings, Lucas said. Upon leaving, veterans can take their artwork home.
The goal is to expand the program and host it more than once a month depending on how many people continue to show up, Lucas said. He believes these classes provide a “safe” and “happy” place for learning, where all veterans, regardless of experience, can gather and explore their creativity together.
Anyone with questions can call (609) 654–6033, or to register, servicemen and women can visit http://medfordarts.com/. The center also accepts walk-ins.