Art is More Than a Pretty Picture – Volunteer Spotlight: ArtWorks-Orlando
Students are finding hidden talents and healing thanks to volunteer Renee Schneider, Executive Director of ArtWorks-Orlando, who leads an Art Discoveries program once a month at Orlando Union Rescue Mission. Renee, who felt a calling to use her artistic talents and teaching skills to work with children facing difficult life challenges, began volunteering at the Mission in 2011. Over that time, OURM students’ work has been exhibited in the OURM chapel, the Orlando Mayor’s gallery, and the UCF gallery. “Art classes give children a way to feel successful and gain longed-for positive recognition,” she said. Renee takes her students to the Orlando Museum of Art and a play at the Orlando Family Stage three times a year. They study artists from various cultures and then create artwork inspired by their style. Recently they visited an exhibition of original artwork by Loren Long, a children’s book illustrator and author of the Otis book series, then created multimedia art inspired by Long’s books.
“I really enjoy art class. It introduces me to artists I have never heard of before and their unique styles. I learn new art techniques, which help improve my own art skills, gain more confidence in my art, and become inspired to let my creativity roam free,” said Samaiya Warren-Smith, a member of the art club.
“We have some very talented students!” said Beth Kee, a youth advocate at the mission who works closely with Renee during art club. OURM students are proving Renee’s statement that “Art is more than a pretty picture,” by growing their skill and self confidence while enjoying the creativity and healing that art can bring. “I’m excited,” said Renee, “about the future for art at the Mission.”