“A wounded deer leaps the highest.” - Emily Dickinson
The Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit charitable arts organization was established in 1995 under the beliefs of Mattie Kelly, a member of one of Destin, Florida’s founding families. Mattie beliefs were deeply rooted in education, spirituality, and the arts.
Since 1995, the Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation has remained one of northwest Florida’s foremost arts organizations and offers several art events, community outreach programs, music workshops, and summer camps. The Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation is now giving back to our country’s wounded veterans by offering art instruction programs tailored specifically for the unique needs of each wounded warrior, at no cost to the participants.
“MKAF is pleased to be able to give back to our veterans and active duty military in this unique and impactful way,” announced Melanie Moore, Education Director at the Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation.
By engaging in creative pursuits, many disabled veterans can improve their dexterity, increase eye-hand coordination, improve memory and cognitive functions.
Art instruction programs can be customized to accommodate the varying needs of each veteran. Customization focuses on the specific physical changes, while the creativity and self-expression help veterans reconcile traumatic and painful memories. Through the experience of creativity, participants acquire a sense of self-worth, along with honing their skills of each artistic vocation.
The drawing classes are of particular interest at the MKAF. One class offered, "Zentangles," helps students relieve anxiety and stress through the meditative art of drawing ornate, geometric shapes. Others find the songwriting and drumming classes to be an enriching way to process and express their emotions.
In addition to the art classes offered to those who are Wounded Warriors, the MKAF has many outreach events, including an art program for people with special needs. The Wounded Warrior Project of Jacksonville, Florida offers many programs such as fitness challenges, physical activity sessions, peer and family support, to disabled veterans and those who suffer from PTSD.
Image credit: Photo by Fischer Twins on Unsplash