Four-year Navy veteran Laneta McBridge never thought art would help her to process her emotions.
Once introduced to Homes 4 Families, a nonprofit dedicated to helping create affordable housing for veterans, and after participating in an art workshop at the My TIME Center, she changed her mind.
“I love that I can express myself,” she said. “It helps me trying to figure out the words that I’m trying to say, but can’t find up here (in my brain). This gives me the pathway to figure it out.”
Similar artwork is on display at the Old Town Newhall Library in the “Opening Our Minds and Hearts to Veteran Trauma-Informed Art” exhibit, which showcases art created by local military veterans and made from art workshops conducted by Homes 4 Families.
“When you walk through this room, you can’t help but understand and know the feelings that are on the canvas, and I sincerely hope it helps people to be able to express themselves,” Mayor Marsha McLean said.
The goal of the program is to provide veterans with support from their fellow veterans while creating a safe place for them to share their experiences and allowing them to express themselves, according to Pamela Braly, enrichment program development consultant at the My TIME Center.
“Our veterans’ art shows that they have opened their hearts to share a part of themselves and their journey through their military lives,” she said. “Through pictures, lyrics, colors and symbols, the veterans’ stories of bravery and loss talk to us.”
Hunt Braly, chairman of the board of directors at Homes 4 Families, agreed, adding that their goal is to give back to veterans and their families in more ways than just providing affordable housing.
“It’s not a (handout), it’s a hand up,” he said. “They have to do 500 hours of services to get in their homes, where families have to participate and do lots of other important things, part of which is the art.”
The art exhibit is on display until Feb. 2 at the Old Town Newhall Library, located at 24500 Main St. in Newhall. For more information, visit homes4families.org.