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Art & Nature for Veterans

About the Project

Colored pencil sketch on a board, from the perspective of the artist.
We owe our soldiers for the sacrifices they make. When they come back from wars overseas, still battling within, can the Wells Reserve, a beautiful, tranquil place, help them adjust back to civilian life?

This pilot program combines art therapy and the great outdoors to assist veterans in need. Art & Nature for Veterans will engage more than 100 veterans and their families in a series of creative wellness programs and outdoor nature activities at the Wells Reserve. Participants will tell their stories using painting, photography, collage, writing, or music. Art mentors from Art HOPE, a local nonprofit, will work with them as guides.


  • Four seasons of Art HOPE Studios at the Wells Reserve at Laudholm
  • Nurture mindfulness in veterans in a peaceful, natural environment
  • Provide opportunities and support for healthy and creative self-expression

Project Period

A series of four Art HOPE Studio programs will be offered in season:

  1. FALL: Saturday, October 28, 2017 10am-noon
  2. WINTER: Tuesday, February 20, 2018 10am-noon (during school vacation week)
  3. SPRING: Tuesday, April 17, 2018 10am-noon (during school vacation week)
  4. SUMMER: Friday, June 15, 2018, 10am-noon

Program Description

Programs will be held in the spacious Mather Auditorium and provide an open studio environment with a focus on creative wellness. Participants can discover watercolors and sketching, origami and 3-D sculpting, writing activities, or learning guitar. Mentors and instructors will be on hand to support the process. Veterans can learn new skills and develop talents. They may also bring their creative works to share with others.

Family participation is encouraged with access to the Visitor Center, the Coastal Resource Library, and the scenic environment and trails in season at the Wells Reserve. Registration is not required to attend the open studios.

Art HOPE Studio programs are free and participants will receive an annual family membership at the Wells Reserve.


More Information

Laura Jaquays
Art HOPE Executive Director


  • Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve
  • Laura Jaquays & Art HOPE
  • state health organizations
  • local veterans groups
  • local veterans
  • community volunteers


Maine Community Foundation

Next Steps

If this project is well-received, we will expand into a 3-year program designed to work with participants over a longer period of time and across all seasons. This new program will connect veterans with an expanded peer community and give them tools for creative expression and self-care during the project period and beyond.

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