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Residents of Pathway Homes Inc. are showcasing and selling their artworks, poetry and crafts in the ninth annual Summer of the Arts Exhibit, now on display in Vienna.
The Vienna Arts Society (VAS) is exhibiting the works through July 29 at the Village Green Gallery, 513 Maple Ave., W., Suite 1. Exhibition hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays. Some of the artworks also are on display in the gift shop at the VAS Art Center, 243 Church St., NW, Suite 100 (Lower Level).
“The work is both varied and provocative,” said Lu Cousins, the art center’s director.
Artists will receive 100 percent of proceeds from the exhibit, which also honors Karen Free, a Pathway Homes resident and artist who died in 2011. Pathways, a nonprofit organization located in the city of Fairfax, for more than four decades has helped tens of thousands of people in Northern Virginia who have serious mental-health issues and other disabilities. The organization provides mental-health services and safe, stable housing to people marginalized by poverty and other causes.
Art and creativity are an integral part of residents’ recovery and the exhibit lets them express their unique talents, Pathway Homes officials said.
Pathways residents who are participating in this year’s exhibit include Lorraine Johnson, Alexander Botts, Sue Zywokarte, Thomas O’Shea, Mitch Kato and Sherril Crawford.
“We do all kinds of art,” said Crawford, who has been living at Pathways for more than 15 years. “Anything that’s artistic can be submitted and exhibited.”
Exhibit organizers usually allow only about five entries per artist, but this year there was no limit, Crawford said.
Crawford has taken part in four previous shows and has experienced the highs and lows that come from exhibiting one’s art. She has sold some of her works, but one year did not make the cut for entry.
“They rejected me, but I just took that as an excuse to do even better the next time,” she said.
She has three artworks in this year;s show: a pair of bracelets and a mixed-media piece she dubbed “The Daily Blues.”
Crawford has been artistic ever since she was a child, winning a poetry prize at age 11.
“I went to school in Manassas and I never did well in art class,” she said. “They always told me that I wasn't going to be an artist, but I had friends who were in art and I always thought I could be just as good as they were.” Crawford benefited from membership in 4H, where she learned how to raise flowers and give demonstrations.
She is enamored of works by French impressionists such as Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Edouard Manet, and used to collect glass made during the Depression era.
Doing art releases her emotions and makes her feel stronger and more self-confident, Crawford said.
“It’s also peaceful when you’re working with your hands,” she said. “Your mind kind of is at rest.”