Dare Arts embraces The Power of Art 

Artists Barbara Hanft and Catherine Hamill created beach inspired wind chimes with members of Monarch Beach Club. Photo courtesy of Barbara Hanft.

Building wind chimes, practicing chair yoga, decoupaging plaques and seashells, making stained glass suncatchers, drumming, poem writing, and singing along in music classes are just a few of the 40+ Power of Art classes Dare Arts has hosted over the last year.

The Power of Art program gives underserved populations and people with disabilities and/or special needs the opportunity to participate in unique programming that is designed to give them a chance to create and express themselves through art.

“Art connects people to beauty, and informs them of what can be,” said artist Barbara Hanft who assists Dare Arts in facilitating Power of Art workshops and classes. “We design projects that build on what our participants enjoy and can do, always nurturing each person’s creativity. Arts and crafts support an individual’s motor, cognitive and social development as well as their pride in their completed project.”

Dare Arts has partnered with Monarch Beach Club, Outer Banks Health, Outer Banks Dementia Friendly Coalition and Gentle Experts Memorycare (GEM) Adult Day Services to bring art programming to adults with cognitive decline, intellectual and/or developmental disabilities and those affected by cancer.

This spring, Dare Arts facilitated a collaboration between Manteo High School art students and clients at Monarch Beach Club, a day program that supports adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Through the Power of Art program, Holly Humphlett’s art students created digital art portraits of individuals from Monarch.

“The goal of this project was to encourage our students to see the world outside of our classroom, and recognize the importance of art and community,” said Manteo High School Art Teacher Holly Humphlett. “During the process, students utilized their knowledge of photography and design to create portraits highlighting individual members of the Monarch Beach Club. The students met, interviewed and photographed the Monarch participants to learn more about them so they could create portraits that highlighted their personalities. We had the opportunity to unveil the portraits on a larger scale with an exhibit reception that included our students, their families and everyone from Monarch. It was so rewarding to see everyone back together at the reception where the student’s work was on full display in a gallery setting. After I left the reception, my face hurt from smiling.”

Through a partnership with Outer Banks Health, a project called Expressions of Hope & Healing is a part of Dare Arts’ Power of Art program. The Expressions project brings free art workshops and artistic resources to community members who have been affected by cancer.

In May, artists Suzanne Scott Constantine and Lynne Scott Constantine presented a project as part of an art tasting for Outer Banks Health caregivers, where they made dandelion flags that carried messages of hopes, fears, goals, promises, dreams and more. These workshops were designed to give the caregivers the opportunity to participate in a simple project that would enable them to focus on their well-being while showing them how art can help people struggling with health issues or a loved one’s health issues.

“It was lovely to meet these hospital staff members and to see how enthusiastically they engaged with the dandelion flags,” said artist Lynne Scott Constantine. “I was touched by the depth and sweetness of what appeared on some of these flags—not surprising from people who spend their days working with patients facing complex medical issues.”

Recently, Dare Arts coordinated a Therapeutic Doll Making Workshop with artist Sarah Kwawu for members of the Outer Banks Dementia Friendly Coalition, which is a local organization that provides support to Dare County residents living with dementia and their caregivers. The goal of this workshop was to create discussions giving participants the opportunity to socialize and reminisce while practicing fine motor skills through doll making.

“I was amazed at the success of this workshop,” said Dianne Denny from the Outer Banks Dementia Friendly Coalition. “It incorporated so much including using your thought process to think about your goals/wishes for the future. The participants became very creative as they made their dolls. I was so pleased to see participants helping other participants. It gave them a sense of purpose and accomplishment. And, everyone was proud of the doll they created, even naming them.  What a way to invoke all senses for those who may have a hard time expressing themselves.”

Artists interested in leading a class through the Power of Art program are encouraged to email Dare Arts Program Director Michelle Alexander at DareArtsPrograms@gmail.com.

The Power of Art program is made possible by a grant from Outer Banks Health. Thank you to TowneBank for sponsoring the Power of Art.

This project was supported by the North Carolina Arts Council, a division of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.

For more information about the Power of Art program, visit DareArts.org or call 252-473-5558.

Dare Arts is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit arts organization dedicated to encouraging the arts in Dare County through advocacy, enrichment and opportunity.

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