Would you be willing to take the time to share your love of painting en plein air with a veteran?
This question was posed to a full audience at the 7th Annual Plein Air Convention & Expo earlier this year, and it was answered by dedicated individuals.
Roger Rossi, a member of Salmagundi, has been working with New York City veterans who are rehabilitating from alcohol and opioid abuse and are victims of trauma and stress. Rossi put together an outreach program for Salmagundi to teach these veterans how to paint.
After an initial meeting with the Samaritan Daytop Village to discuss this endeavor, his first project was to create a 4 x 8 foot banner that symbolizes what the veterans endure and how to achieve recovery.
Roger Rossi states, “I did not involve any other Salmagundi members on this first project, as the work was to be done by the veterans themselves as part of their therapy. I mainly created a concept design and offered guidance with minimal input.” The banner was sent to Ellenville, NY, which is two hours north of the city where the Samaritan headquarters are located. “I also asked if I could accompany the veterans on the bus to their annual outing on the grounds. We spent time together, had lunch together, and I watched as they competed in tugs of war and pie eating contests as part of the days activities.”
Rossi’s next goals are already in progress as the weekly two-hour classes have begun. The veterans are learning how to sketch and create a painting in oil using still life set-ups. “Already we have instructors teach their methods and give their versions of how to accomplish a piece of art,” Rossi said. “This program is an example of how we at Salmagundi outreach, knowing it is necessary to help those in need in our community, our city, and our country.”