Veteran to Veteran: Service Through The Arts

Art Aids Veterans’ Transition to Civilian Life

Veteran, Jewell sketches before painting.

Guest Blogger Jordan Ponder contributed this post.

I am a recently discharged veteran and the transition from military life to civilian life is one that includes many trial and error choices. Trying to find a career that is fulfilling is a difficult task. When I found this amazing organization I was at a place where I wanted to give back and help the community. Fortunately, they always welcome volunteers and place you where you will be most comfortable. I am a Volunteer  Program Host and assist artists with their programs varying from Hawaiian dance for the elderly to a drum circle for kids who are disabled, to painting with disabled adults.

One of the programs that really hits a chord with me though, is the Visual Arts Still Life Painting with Ken Wright. Ken is a known artist in the Hampton Roads area and when he’s not riding horses, or volunteering his time as an artist with Tidewater Arts Outreach, you can find him at D’Art Center in downtown Norfolk. Working with Ken has connected me to other veterans who are full of joy and laughter. I can be a friend while aiding in the pursuit of their artistic goals. The participants tell stories of their time in the military while painting a patriotic picture that includes flags, eagles, or uniform items. They aren’t confined to just those things, they can paint whatever their heart desires, even if it’s a simple flower. A simple flower can brighten anyone’s day when hung up for display.

Veteran, James sketches before starting to paint.

I have been grateful to be able to give my time to Tidewater Arts Outreach and meet so many different individuals all with stories and the longing for ways to express themselves, their history, and life story. The best part about my volunteer experience in service through the arts, is that everywhere we go in the Hampton Roads area, we always leave smiles behind.

Jordan Ponder,
Navy Veteran, Volunteer, Arts Lover


Interested in Volunteering? Check out our opportunities page HERE.