Art as a message of hope and community

Art as a message of hope and community

March 19th, 2017 by Barry Courter in Life Entertainment

People entering the Family Justice Center on Uptain Road in the Eastgate Loop are often dealing with abuse and looking for guidance and counseling. They often are also looking for peace.

To help them find that, the center has reached out to Open Arms Care Corp., which works with people throughout Tennessee who have intellectual and developmental disabilities. Some clients participate in the Flying Brushes Art program that Ken Robertson facilitates.

He has found ways to use art to help clients express themselves, "but they are in complete control of what they produce," he says.

The works hang in the Family Justice Center lobby and offices, both because they are beautiful and because of the message they send, says the center's executive director, Dr. Valerie Radu.

"We made a commitment that the art be representative of our community," she says. "The artists may fall outside of a traditional definition of artists, but we wanted folks who come into the building to feel like it is part of their community."

Each piece is for sale with funds going to the artist.

Visitors are immediately struck by the large pieces and the vibrant colors, Radu says.

"Everyone who comes in loves it."

Contact Barry Courter at or 423-757-6354.