By: Lexi Ketcham ’21

Art is a fun and creative form of expression for many students. Some students may take art classes because they have a passion and talent for art. Some may take it to make their schedule less stressful. Some may even take it just to get their required credits out of the way.

Students in Art I and Art II this school year have learned that art can also be used to help the community. Jennifer Smith, the Life Enrichment and Activities Director for the Florence Home, reached out to Marian asking if students could make art pieces for the residents at Florence Home Healthcare Center. “I pulled up a google search of high schools near our community and I emailed every single school.There was only one response: Ms. Hamra,” Smith said.

With the pandemic, the Florence Home had to end their volunteer programs so residents were staying in their rooms without much to do. Smith noticed many of the residents had bare walls in their rooms so decided to do something to solve these problems. “I had been on a mission to find a way to have the youth come back into our community,” Smith said.

Smith and Ms. Esther Hamra, Art I and Art II teacher, talked over the phone to discuss what the students would learn in class. Hamra adapted her lesson plan to allow for time to make artwork for the Florence Home residents.

Hamra, who used to be a staffing coordinator for homecare agencies and grew up with parents as artists, felt this project combined two things she cares about: the elderly and art.

“Old people hold a special place in my heart, and this is the perfect opportunity to do something for our community,” Hamra said.

The first art show at Florence Home was held last semester with Art II, but there weren’t enough pieces for all of the residents, so this semester all four Art I classes and one Art II class participated. There was a spring and Easter theme to the art show. Students made crosses, wreaths and canvasses, making more than 100 pieces combined.

“My favorite part was getting the pictures back and seeing the residents with their artwork,” Hamra said. Sophomore Tyler Raikar, who is in Ms. Hamra’s Art I class, participated in this project. Raikar made an abstract painting with a Bible quote for the residents. “I enjoyed having creative freedom and creating something meaningful for someone to brighten their day a little more,” Raikar said.

Not only was the art show fun for the students to do, but it also made the Florence Home residents overjoyed to get out of their rooms to look at artwork and pick pieces to decorate the walls in their rooms.