The OCP Blog

Art Classes at OCP!

In Ron’s last blog post, he quoted Bessel Van Der Kolk who says that the natural state of the self is “confident, curious and calm.” When people have experienced some form of severe trauma, their natural is state of being is no longer confident, curious and calm. Because many of our community members are victims of trauma, they do not appear confident, curious and calm but rather, insecure, afraid, and agitated.

A few months ago, we started an art program at OCP, led by JMU Art student Sarah Phillips. We are always hopeful when we start a program that our community members will show an interest and want to participate. Sarah arrived on a Monday morning with canvases, acrylic paints and a book of art with examples of art by famous painters. As I looked around the room I could see the curiosity rising in some of our community members. I announced that the art class was about to begin and for anyone that was interested to gather around the tables. Sarah began her class with just a few simple instructions; how to use different brushes, how to mix red, blue and yellow to get more colors, and she showed a few examples of different artistic styles, and then she gave everyone a canvas, some paint, brushes and an easel. As I walked around the room, I realized that we had a least 10-12 community members participating. Each one of them already had an idea of what their painting would be about. A few like Gary and Robert had already planned landscapes. George was planning to paint a scene that inspired him from that morning’s bible study. Others, like John, were planning a more modern approach. Each of them began painting without hesitation and with complete confidence.

Each day that I am in the building I take photos to capture a little bit of OCP life to share with you. Halfway through the Art Class, as I was taking pictures, I began to realize how calm everyone was that was painting. For an hour and a half, I watched my community members express themselves through art. I watched as their natural state of being–confident, curious and calm–took over.  It is a moment in my time at OCP that I will never forget. There are many beautiful moments at OCP, but that one tops my list so far. It has motivated me to want to make sure that there are always art supplies on hand for those who want or need them.

Annie Pangle

Annie Pangle

Volunteer & Community Care Coordinator