Church art program spreads love, beauty in community

2014-06-05T00:00:00Z Church art program spreads love, beauty in communityBy Phil Villarreal Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

Resurrection Lutheran Church members sense the divine in the act of artistic creation, and use that mentality to express themselves and cheer up others.

Art by Heart, led by Barbara Mulleneaux, is a 50-member organization within the church that aids the community through artwork.

The group completes community projects, such as raising $1,000 for the University of Arizona Cancer Center, making friendship bracelets for the Uganda Orphan Children’s Choir, participating in the Interfaith Community Services Empty Bowls fundraiser, making vases for mothers of newborns and creating welcome packages for new church members.

There are plans underway for kids in the program to develop gardens for assisted-living seniors who live in Friendship Villas at La Cholla.

“I shudder to think what life would be like without art,” Mulleneaux said.

“What we see here is so much healing and so much joy. People come here to meet. They laugh. They cry. They get to know each other. People shed a lot of troubles creating art. They just relax. I think that’s what art does for the community. It just makes us smile. I really do think it was what we were meant to do. I really think that God created us, so we create.”

Offering classes and meet-ups for adults and children in various mediums, Art by Heart helps members unlock their artistic passions and express their visions.

Carol Seavitt, a 56-year-old volunteer with the organization who assisted with the vase project, said the program is crucial for participants and beneficiaries alike.

“It is very important because it teaches about the community,” she said. “It teaches about caring and giving and togetherness.”

Art by Heart members range from children to seniors who participate in ceramics, painting, mosaics, crafting, painting and other projects.

“I really do think it brings out the creativity in individuals,” she said. “Plus it brings out a sense of community, sitting there and talking about what they’re doing. It gives everybody an outlet.”

Mulleneaux said there’s a convivial mood at meetings that makes everyone feel included and accepted.

“It’s all about creating art and coming together in a very safe and enjoyable way,” she said. “We’re providing art to the community and to people who might not otherwise benefit. Our goal is to get it out there.”

Contact reporter Phil Villarreal at 573-4130 or pvillarreal@azstarnet.com

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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