RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Art On Wheels is a mobile, non-profit organization based in Richmond where art meets therapy. The organization helps community members who face challenges, such as illnesses or disabilities, get in touch with their creative side.

“I think it’s super important just to have a moment to take a break, have fun, and be creative,” said Studio Coordinator for Art On Wheels, Heather Gibson.

Gibson is a licensed artist and teaches the participants how to socially engage with her and other participants while mixing colors and painting detailed images. The mobile non-profit stops at the South Richmond Adult Day Care Center monthly to provide adult services for seniors.

“We do our therapy here regularly. We have the senior day programs, and we follow an activity calendar,” said the care center’s Executive Director, Carnell Lewis. “We have increased Art On Wheels for coming in. That’s how much we love this program.”

Art On Wheels helps to increase mental and physical activity by facilitating the social engagement of participants, and helps to improve well-being through painting, drawing and listening to music.

Stephanie Foster has been a participant, or as Lewis calls them, a “loved one,” of South Richmond Adult Day Care Center for a few months, and said the Art On Wheels program makes her feel good about herself.

Art On Wheels (8News)

“At first, I was not being active, but now I’m being sociable and hanging out with my friends,” Foster said.
Most loved ones at the facility also enjoy Gibson and the program.

“Ms. Foster, she is a perfectionist. A lot of my loved ones are, and they are like artists. So when you put a canvas in front of them and what they come up with and create, it’s amazing,” Lewis said.

After creating the art pieces, Lewis said they would send the participants home with the art to show to their families, or, they showcase the art around the building.

Before they finish their art, the participants always thank Heather Gibson and the Art On Wheels organization for the experience.

“It feels great! Just hearing them say thank you and that they enjoyed it makes it all worth it,” Gibson said.