The AT&T Foundation contributed $15,000 to the Norman Firehouse Art Center to support the facility’s veterans program, which offers art initiatives, workshops, activities and exhibitions to benefit veterans.
AT&T’s donation will be utilized to support workshops and open-house events for veterans and their families, scholarships for classes and an exhibition in the Firehouse Art Center gallery. Some of the adult classes include drawing, painting, fused glass, jewelry and more, said Lacy Jo Burgess-Cady, operations coordinator at Firehouse Art Center.
The donation will allow the program to give military veterans an opportunity to utilize the center’s creative outlets as a way to heal, Burgess-Cady said in an email.
Burgess-Cady said Firehouse offers a variety of visual arts programming to disadvantaged groups in Norman through its community outreach, veterans programming and a healing studio for those with cognitive, physical and learning disabilities.
“There is a concern about military personnel and veterans' needs, which make up over 10% of our population in Oklahoma. Our Veterans and military personnel are underrepresented in the arts and artmaking,” Burgess-Cady said.
The nationally-recognized veteran’s program offers classes in photography, mixed media, drawing, and sculpture alongside personalized projects that ensure “dignity and validation” for each participant, according to their website.
“The arts can boost confidence and help make participants feel more engaged and resilient. Engagement in the arts also aids with feelings of anxiety, depression, and stress,” Burgess-Cady said.
The Firehouse provides in-house artistic programming for both adults and children which are offered through enrollment. For more information on the enrollment process, visit normanfirehouse.com.
“The individuals reached through these initiatives often lack the opportunity to engage with the visual arts due to the high cost and the absence of existing visual arts programming,” Burgess-Cady said in an email. “The FAC endeavors to reach these groups by providing arts engagement accessible to people of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds at no cost.”