Phone: (480) 772-2934 | Email: paula@paulapedene.com

Military service members and veterans who are looking to try something new in 2020 may wish to consider the free art classes at Mesa Arts Center.  The program, which has been in existence since 2017, also intends to offer arts experiences for military spouses or partners when they launch their spring 2020 registration.

veterans at an art class

Veterans and Service Members attend free classes at Mesa Arts Center

Classes are in art mediums such as ceramics, jewelry, glass, and welding, and no experience is necessary to start. The classes provide creative pathways for veterans and service members to use studio art experiences in reaching their personal goals.  It can also assist veterans in finding a supportive community, stress relief, working toward overall health and wellness, or pursuing their career interests in artmaking.

Marine Corps veteran and teaching artist Ron Bimrose say, “Arts experiences are very valuable because it opens you up to things in the world you might not see otherwise. You don’t have to have any prior experience or drawing ability. The [participants]often find out they have skills they didn’t know they had.”

To date, over 300 individuals have participated in the program. Each session ends with a celebratory exhibition of artwork and a reception for participants and their families.

“I think these programs are really what makes a big difference in service members and veterans’ lives. It gives them that camaraderie again, it gives them that chance to try something new and challenge themselves,” says Kelly Anne Wilde, an army veteran and assistant director of programs with the Arizona Coalition for Military Families.

Classes for veterans are free thanks to The Boeing Company, Arizona Department of Veterans’ Services, and The Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community. Registration is available now for the spring 2020 sessions, which include intermediate level classes, and with start dates as early as Jan. 13 and as late as Mar. 23. New this session: workshops available for military spouses. To register or learn more about the programs, contact artstudioclass@mesaartscenter.com. Or call 480-644-6538.

Contributor Info:  Paula Pedene is the Phoenix Veterans Day Parade Coordinator for Honoring America’s Veterans and contributor for the Veterans Voice Column.  You can reach her at paula@pedene.com

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