Loralee started working with seniors in a group home and saw what happens when they were given crayons and paper and was amazed at the transformation. “Their eyes brighten and they feel that suddenly there is a purpose to their lives.” She also saw this happening with the veterans she and the Mesa Art League work with. “They concentrate on their creations knowing that we are not judgmental of their work; that it’s only about creativity and not perfection.” This shows the heart of this genuinely generous artist volunteer. Her work with the Mesa Art League and their wonderful veterans’ programs (now in three separate locations) embodies the spirit of the volunteer world.
Loralee said she has learned the importance of the creative process in our lives. She says she came in late to the visual art world. “Having failed cutting and pasting in my youth, I focused on creative problem solving.” After she retired, she took a class in welding art. “During my first day in class (after listening to the safety speech which should have scared me off) I cut steel with fire, and was hooked.” At the beginning of her welding art, she focused on garden art, cactus and coyote, rusted steel abstracts, masks, etc., and then she found copper. The color and texture of copper inspired her to create amazing pieces of art. She joined the Mesa Art League in 2006 and was shortly juried into the Arizona Art Alliance.
“My goal for the Mesa Art League is to encourage creativity in the people we work with – no matter the medium…for the more we exercise our total brain, the healthier and happier we are…for studies have shown that being creative enhances our senior years.”
Loralee and her Mesa Art League volunteers are a major reason for the success of the Arizona Art Alliance’s “The Art of Healing” veterans program.Mesa Active Adult Center offered her a necessary classroom in the startup of MAL’s Veterans Program and they began by creating drawings, acrylics, ink on copper, collage, a collaborative flag, and a piece of art called “After Picasso!” which she says, “still hangs at the center.” With her leadership, they have expanded the program to include the Mesa Multigenerational Center and the Citadel. Her words “Keep on Creating!” are inspirational.