HomeVoorhees NewsHealing art for a Hero's heart

Healing art for a Hero’s heart

Town center hosts event to showcase cards made for military members

The Healing Art for a Hero’s Heart initiative enables the community to express gratitude and support for deployed military members and veterans through art.

Town Center was the scene of an emotional Valentine’s Day event on Feb. 3 dedicated to military veterans.

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Organized in collaboration with the Voorhees Art Commission, the Healing Art for a Hero’s Heart gathering enabled the community to express gratitude and support for deployed military members and veterans through the power of art.

That art comes from watercolor classes for anyone 8 years old and up where crafted cards offer diverse themes and expressions of gratitude to military members. The finished works are dispatched to soldiers stationed around the globe, other active-duty military and veterans in the community, all facilitated by the Military Support Group of New Jersey, a nonprofit that supports deployed soldiers.

Behind the initiative is Amy Bash, a military spouse and exhibiting artist at the Voorhees Arts Center. She shared her motivation in starting Healing Art for a Hero’s Heart.

“My husband Dan is a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Reserves,” she explained. “His unit deployed to the Middle East in December 2019. As a military spouse, I was instructed on how to send care packages and correspondence overseas. Wanting to lift the spirits of soldiers far from home, I suggested painting holiday cards for deployed military personnel as an art activity for all ages.

“The success of that event led to the formation of Healing Art For A Hero’s Heart, expanding to year-round activities,” Bash added.

Bash’s initiative goes beyond honoring her husband’s service; it reflects a commitment to using skills and passion to create a positive influence in the community. The Valentine’s Day event has become a source of inspiration in how individuals can make a meaningful difference. It is also a reminder, Bash notes, of the healing power of art.

“Through making art, people can express their thoughts and feelings, overcome stress and anxiety, and develop a better understanding of their own behavior,” she observed. “Imagine a soldier receiving a beautiful positive greeting card painted by a member of their community.

“I host events that build awareness of military life in our community and create opportunities for small acts of kindness through art.”

Bash recalled a poignant scene between a veteran and the granddaughter he brought to a Healing Art for a Hero’s Heart event.

“It was touching to see him talk to her about his time in the Air Force, explain how the world was different back then and paint together,” she remembered. “This veteran thanked me for making him feel special and for providing the opportunity for others to thank veterans.

“It’s very rewarding to see families at our events.”

The Voorhees Arts Commission has been a crucial supporter of Healing Art for a Hero’s Heart, providing funds for art supplies and refreshments and promoting its events. With the collaboration of the Military Support Group of New Jersey, “Thank You For Your Service” cards have been sent to soldiers far and wide.

Healing Art For A Hero’s Heart also aligns its themes with military observance days, national holidays and meetings of the support group. Bash encourages other communities to host similar activities with varied stakeholders to foster connections through art.

“Invite township staff, Veterans Affairs, senior centers, teachers and artists to participate and champion the effort,” she advised, noting that the Feb. 3 event was described as a “wonderful community gathering” by attendees Daniel Bash, an Army vet, and Navy veteran James Whiteside.

“Art is a good fit to unite communities and inspire patriotism, especially in the context of military life,” Bash related.

Bash has yet to reveal plans for expansion of the art initiative. But she expressed gratitude to participants of the recent Healing Art for a Hero’s Heart event and offered special thanks to artist Jim Gardner, who created extra cards.

For more information, visit voorheesarts.com


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