Staci Bruce remembers seeing the pictures in a hospital some years ago. Pastoral scenes, animals, still life, all created to lend a sense of peace, calm, and comfort to an otherwise stressful environment.
Why, she wondered, couldn’t clients of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York also benefit from brightly colored artwork in its facilities?
So in 2013, Bruce, the agency's director of volunteer services, began soliciting artists' designs for therapeutic art that could hang in its various facilities.
Artists Olivia Servais and Mackensie Leigh answered the call, and on July 17, members of Fordham's Office of Development and University Relations (DAUR) paid a visit to Catholic Charities’ offices to help replicate their work. After tracing the outlines of the art on to square wood-and-cloth canvases, DAUR members used watercolors and sharpies to fill in the blues, reds, yellows, and greens of the collages.
Bruce said the canvases will be hung in facilities that are home to Beacon of Hope, an assisted living facility for 400 adults with severe mental illnesses; Catholic Guardian Services, which provides foster care services; and Incarnation Children’s Center, a nursing facility that provides specialized care for children and adolescents living with HIV/AIDS.
Beacon of Hope, she said, was the first to receive art, and the response was so positive that organizers at other programs began asking for pieces as well. In addition to the assembled canvases, Bruce has arranged for traditional outdoor murals to be painted on-site at the Incarnation Children’s Center.
“It’s an easy, fun way for groups to get together and contribute to the program,” she said.
For more information on how to volunteer, visit http://www.catholiccharitiesny.org/get-involved/volunteer/.