Artists’ Hard Work on Display at St. Mary’s Home

Art gallery-KoKo

KoKo and some of the other members of St. Mary’s Art Club create their masterpieces with hand-over-hand assistance from volunteers. They make decisions about color and subject matter. (photo courtesy Karen Hibbard)

For more than a year, the members of St. Mary’s Art Club have been meeting weekly to paint with acrylic. And now the halls of St. Mary’s are brighter, with the kids’ colorful masterpieces on display.

We celebrated the grand opening of our St. Mary’s Artists-in-Residence Gallery in November with a party for the artists that included a toast with sparkling cider, plus cake for Isaiah and Jorge, who had birthdays that same week. Guests included Angela West, the reigning Miss Wheelchair Virginia and a friend of the Home.

With the artists and friends gathered in the gallery space for a ribbon-cutting, Art Club President Jorge shared a few words: “Thank you St. Mary’s, for all of the workers working hard.” He added to Shirley Justice, our community liaison, who started the Art Club and came up with the idea for the gallery, and artist Karen Ludwig, who volunteers with the club, “And thank you for helping me, making my dreams come true.”

Art Gallery-Jorge

Art Club President Jorge with some of his pieces hanging in the newly dedicated St. Mary’s Artists-in-Residence Gallery. (photo courtesy Karen Hibbard)

Karen said all the artists take a lot of pride — and joy — in their work. “The passion that they have for painting becomes another way they can communicate,” she said.

Special thanks to Ashley Williams, visitor services coordinator at the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art in Virginia Beach, who advised us on how to create the gallery and taught us how to hang and label artwork just like they do at the museum.

See more great photos of the gallery opening by Auxiliary Board member Karen Hibbard on our Facebook page.

Watch a video of Jorge cutting the ribbon to open the gallery:

This article is from the winter 2015-2016 issue of our newsletter, Journeys. Read the entire issue online here. To request a print copy of the newsletter, contact Sonja Barisic, APR, director of marketing communications, at or (757) 352-2700. 

Read our latest newsletter online

Journerys winter 2015-16

The latest issue of our newsletter is just about to hit mailboxes. You can read it online here now to learn about how our kids are brightening the halls of St. Mary’s with their own artwork; a grandfather is volunteering at St. Mary’s, where his grandson lives; kids had a fun field day for Day of Caring; our principal is a champion for children; the We Promise Foundation made camp come true for our kids; and much more!

Read the latest issue of our newsletter online

Learn about how our supporters are changing the lives of the young people of St. Mary’s, and the lives of their families, by investing in St. Mary’s Home. In the winter 2014-15 issue of our Journeys newsletter, read about Jorge exploring ways to express himself through art therapy; our friends at Checkered Flag Volkswagen & Hyundai being recognized for volunteering at St. Mary’s; Colton moving into our Albero House for adults, which is now full; and much more. Plus, don’t miss out on the information about a family-focused workshop to be held Jan. 29 at St. Mary’s in partnership with CHKD.


A New Way of Looking at Our Newsletter

We’re experimenting with new ways to get information to families, staff and friends of St. Mary’s Home for Disabled Children. We print and distribute a newsletter three times a year and also post a PDF of it on our website, but we’re now looking into other digital publishing options. Would you be interested in reading a PDF that allows you to to “turn” pages on your computer screen? See an example below using our spring 2010 newsletter: