Tidewater Arts Outreach visual arts programs at Navy Medical Center Portsmouth’s Pediatric Oncology Unit help kids relax, express themselves and engage in creative play.

Visual Arts Workshops = fun, introspective, creative play.

Grace, Scarlett and brothers Malachi and Jonquayle were artists for a day at Navy Medical Center Portsmouth on October 18.  Our volunteer, Adrian, is working with Scarlett in the top right photo; our artist, teacher Michele Barnes, is with the boys.  Together they created Halloween scarecrows, using donated art supplies from Tidewater Arts Outreach.  Extra art supplies were put into baggies for children too sick to attend the event that day.  The participants enjoyed the encounter with artists and art supplies, and soon the room was alive with color, sounds and the animated faces of engaged children.

“The best part was the interaction with other kids,” stated one participant.  Normalizing experiences like this create an environment for kids to be themselves, be in control, express themselves safely and process what is going on with them and around them.

nmcp-child-artist-w-scarecrow nmcp-mb-w-malachai-and-jonquayle

Artist Michele Barnes writes, “As an artist, one of my goals is to compose artworks which give the viewer a sense of wonder and joy. In working with children who have serious illnesses, my aim is to give them a project which will give them a little time to forget about their conditions. Working with them allows me to use my artistic experience to help them relax and create. The children enjoy working with color and all of them love glitter. I like to think it literally adds a little sparkle to their day. I feel that connecting artistically with these young people is an invaluable experience. I am confident that it gives them a feeling of hope. As an artist it deepens my compassion for others and adds to my creative spirit.”

Tidewater Arts Outreach relies solely on individual contributions for our programs serving veterans and military families.  Thank you for supporting our work.