A “Salute to Veterans” Art Exhibit to Feature the Original Art of Veterans

Starting on AHA! Night, Thursday, September 11th, 2008 the Veterans Transition House will present a “Salute to the Veterans” Art Exhibit at the Gallery X, 169 William St., New Bedford, MA.
The Exhibit will display over 100 original paintings by Veterans Transition House residents who participate in the Art as Therapy program under the direction of Cindy Ricard.
The highlight of the exhibit will be the reception and unveiling by Mayor Scott Lang of an original portrait by Cindy Ricard of Paul Kellish, USMC on Saturday, September 13, 2008.
The gallery will be open from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. with the unveiling scheduled for 1:30.  Members of the Kellish family, including Paul’s wife Susan, will be in attendance.
Mr. Kellish, a Marine Corps Veteran who served as a Sergeant with the 1st Marine Division in Vietnam, was one of a handful of Veterans who helped to create, develop and expand the Veterans Transition House in 1990.   Cindy spent over a year on this work which will be prominently displayed in the “Quarterdeck”: a place of honor in the lobby of the main VTH campus building at 20 Willis St., New Bedford, MA.
Art Therapy is a recognized modality in the process of healing.  As part of the art therapy process, art materials are used by the participants with a trained artist who works to help guide the client in exploring the images and pottery that are produced.  The Southeastern Massachusetts Veterans Housing Program, Inc. d/b/a the Veterans Transition House provides art therapy classes in oil painting and pottery to the residents of its programs.
The purpose is much the same as in any other psychotherapeutic modality:  to improve and/or maintain mental health and emotional well-being.  Clients are assisted in gaining personal insight and judgment, thereby developing a better understanding of themselves. Combined with other psych-therapy groups, the client’s self-esteem is improved helping the client to deal with, and resolve, those personal problems that have contributed to their being homeless.
The VTH Art Therapy Program is led by James A Reid, Executive Director of the S.E. MA Veterans Housing Program, Inc. and Cindy Ricard, VTH Art Director.  Ms. Ricard is an accomplished artist who has originated and expanded several start-up programs focused on the teaching of fine arts to the elderly, physically and mentally disabled persons and now Veterans.  She is currently the founder/president and director of Art Therapy Inspirational Art for Seniors, Inc. and Director of Arts for the City of New Bedford at it’s Inspirational Art Therapy Center.  In addition, she maintains her Ricard Art Studio, Oil on Linen Portrait – Fine Art in New Bedford.
In addition to the residents’ paintings, an additional 125 works of art with a Veteran’s theme will be on display.  These paintings are the work of artists who participate in the Art Therapy Inspirational Art for Seniors program. Entertainment for the event will be provided by Johnny Angel and refreshments will be provided by the VTH culinary staff.
The “Salute to Veterans” Art Exhibit is funded in part by a grant from the New Bedford Cultural Council. Gallery X is a contemporary, cooperative art gallery of Visual, Performing and Literary artist members and volunteers. A non-profit, tax-exempt organization, Gallery X promotes a mission of cultural outreach through community partnerships, educational programs, and monthly exhibits. Gallery X is located at 169 William Street, in the heart of New Bedford’s Upper William Street Arts District in the historic 1855 First Universalist Church. Gallery X hours are Wednesday thru Sunday from 11am – 3pm, and on Thursday, September 11th from 5 -9 p.m.

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