SOUTHINGTON — Local veterans can get free art classes next month thanks to a donation from the American Legion Auxiliary.
The classes will take place at the Southington Community Cultural Arts building at 93 Main St.
Rachel Wache, a member of American Legion Auxiliary Post 72, said arts group executive director Mary DeCroce led classes with veterans in West Haven.
“It was so successful she thought if she could get funding, she would do one here in Southington,” Wache said.
Painting, collage, drawing and other art forms can be therapeutic, Wache said.
“There were veterans who had diagnoses of PTSD. Just regular combat issues or non-combat issues,” she said. “With the art program, it seems to bring things out for them in a good way. Things that maybe they’ve never talked about before. Maybe they’ll open up about their experiences.”
Laurie MacLean, a SoCAA instructor, said Susan Brereton will be running the classes.
“She does all media,” MacLean said. “She’s an oil painter, acrylics, watercolor, drawing, painting. Her father is a veteran and she’s very excited to teach the class.
“Some of these veterans are carrying around a lot of stuff…,” MacLean added. “It’s an opportunity for things to come out...to release and be healing in a way.”
Brereton will be teaching all levels of ability. Experience with painting or drawing isn’t necessary.
The legion auxiliary runs an annual fundraiser dance and donated $1,600 to help pay for the classes. The seven weekly sessions start Sept. 3.
The program is open to the first 12 veterans from Southington that sign up. Those interested can visit the arts group building on Main Street or call 860-276-1581.
Wache said the classes could be offered again.
“I have no doubt it’ll be successful. The next step is, can we get funding?” she said.