Partnering with Paseo Avenues and with funding provided in part by the Oklahoma Arts Council, Mid-America Arts Alliance, and the National Endowment for the Arts, Black Liberated Arts Center (BLAC), Inc. provided a painting and brunch art activity to veterans, military-connected individuals, disabled and homeless adults, among others, on Wednesday, April 19, 2023, from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. The Tony Coleman Law Firm and Mr. Aerk Parker also provided generous support for the occasion.
The primary audience for the event was veterans currently residing at or associated with Paseo A venues. Located in the heart of Oklahoma City, Paseo Avenues LLC is a 50l(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides the highest quality of transitional living to alleviate chronic homelessness for all independent citizens, long-term or short-term, for both United States military veterans and non-veterans, as well as for senior adults and disabled adults who are homeless or seeking assistance with housing and community integration.
The painting and brunch event was deemed an enormous success by Paseo Avenues residents and others; several people were so inspired they were commenting that they “want to become artists now.” The painting activity was designed, prepared, and taught by two local teaching artists who are also members of the BLAC, Inc. board of directors, Mary Ann (Senoj) Moore and Vivianette Lewis. The project involved acrylic paint on canvas with easels and included stencils of the continental United States and a saluting soldier over a patriotic and vibrant red, white, and blue background. Despite the pre-formatted design of the project, every canvas nevertheless reflected the unique talents and abilities of each individual painting participant.
The brunch menu was provided, in part, by the Oklahoma Regional Food Bank, Trader Joe’s, Dunkin’ Donuts, Starbucks’s Coffeehouse Company, and Edible Arrangements. Several notable guests stopped by during the event, such as Oklahoma City Ward II Councilperson, James Cooper, along with representatives from the National Association for Black Veterans (NABVETS), Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF), and the Oklahoma Arts Council, among others. All in all, a gala affair!