A pair of strong hands, weathered by age and wrinkled with wisdom work meticulously with rhythm at a loom. On the other side of the room, a Korean War veteran creates a beautiful silk scarf with the flowing colours of the rainbow, while down the hallway the sawing and sanding sounds of woodworking tools fill the air. These are the sights and sounds of the Veterans Arts program at Parkwood Institute.
For the past 70 years, veterans have had an opportunity to express their creativity in woodworking, clay and textiles as part of the Veterans Arts program. Some of the veterans served in World War II, some in the Korean War but their differences quickly melt away when they are working in the art studios side-by-side.
A team of seasoned art instructors assess the interests and ability of each veteran to determine what type of project to focus them on. Through this program veterans learn new artistic skills or practice old ones, and create gifts for loved ones. There is even an opportunity for veterans to work on projects with the younger generation including children from Parkwood Institute’s daycare and with local elementary, secondary and post-secondary students.
“Intergenerational art serves not only as a creative outlet, but also as a means to foster respect, understanding and compassion among generations,” says veterans arts coordinator Heather Derbecker. Works from Veterans Arts will be showcased during the month of November in a special exhibit at the London Public Library to celebrate their 70th anniversary.
Artwork by the Veterans of Parkwood Institute