Art on Wheels is delivering colorful experiences to people facing challenges

Posted at 6:06 PM, Aug 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-26 18:03:08-04

RICHMOND, Va. — Heather Gibson can’t contain her excitement. The professional artist is blending her passions creating art and improving lives in a most vivid way.

“We’re going to be using primary colors today. So red, yellow, blue,” said Heather.

Heather works for Art on Wheels.

“It is always nice when they remember my name and say, ‘Hi Heather.’ I know it is going to be art time today.' Yeah, a bond is formed," she said.

The mobile nonprofit works with people facing challenges. From serious illnesses and seniors to children and adults living with physical disabilities.

On this particular day, Heather set up shop at SOAR365 — a favorite place the Virginia Commonwealth University graduate visits twice a month.

(August 25, 2022)

“I am so excited to have this job, just making art every day with my friends.”

Heather’s projects are always hands-on. The messier the better.

“This substance is called paper pulp clay,” explained Heather. “Extremely messy. A messy one. This is the messiest!”

Benita Davis the Supervisor of Adult Day Support said the 90-minute classes have a lasting effect on clients.

“They look forward to it every other week that they come,” said Davis. “They love it. They love being able to create things on their own. Being able to make something out of nothing.”

(August 25, 2022)

Art on Wheels Interim Executive Director Kathleen O’Connor said creating art in whatever form can be a powerful tool for the artist.

“One of the benefits we see in most of our programs is the social connection that art provides for folks,” said O’Connor. “Maybe it is not communicated verbally, but you can see it in the work that they are becoming more comfortable and more confident.”

Artist Joey Wheeler from Chesterfield never misses an Art on Wheels day at SOAR365.

“Actually, I love it,” said Joey.

For Heather Gibson, helping novices tap into hidden talents is fulfilling beyond measure.

“It is fantastic. It brings a lot of meaning into my life and I hope it makes their day fun,” said Heather. “I think they usually leave with high spirits with what they made.”

It’s always fun when Art on Wheels rolls in. Because at the end of the day, each artist walks out with their own masterpiece.

An exhibit of Art on Wheels creations will be on display from Sept. 2 through Oct. 5 at the Main Branch of the Richmond Library.

(August 25, 2022)

If you would like to learn more about Art on Wheels, click here.

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