by Lybra Olbrantz
for The Beacon
SHEBOYGAN — On the general and chapel lobby walls of the Sheboygan Salvation Army a new series of photographs has emerged. A series entitled, “A Walk in the Garden,” is a collection of photographs capturing colorful flowers, sculptures and garden details. The photographs depict a day at Bookworm Gardens through the lens of mothers and children from Bridgeway shelter. The photos were taken as part of a community art outreach initiative called Kaleidoscope, currently run by Program Director, Judith Schmidt.
The “A Walk in the Garden” exhibit is a great example of one of Kaleidoscope’s main missions: to encourage creativity and the positive expression of emotion while building community.
“The current version of this exhibit was designed specifically for the residents of the Salvation Army, with each photograph accompanied by an encouraging verse from Scripture: a beautiful picture of the residents of one program now touching the lives of residents and the public in another program,” said Schmidt.
She saw this same process come to life when workshops with children from Kaleidoscope’s Salvation Army program were paired with residents at an assisted living facility in the neighborhood. “The whole process came together to create, celebrate art, and learn from one another,” said Scmidt.
The exhibit has become a great example of community members coming together to help one another. The mats and boards of the photographs were all donated from Sharon Abel, an LTC Instructor. They came from the previous exhibit held at the Salvation Army, art created from a prison art program, which Abel directs.
Kaleidoscope has offered over 260 workshops to over 3,000 participants through the Sheboygan Visual Artists’. They provide free art workshops to children and some adults receiving services from local shelters and area social services programs. Although Kaleidoscope is currently on hold due to the pandemic, its normal outreach has been vast, including programming with families at the Salvation Army, Bridgeway, Safe Harbor, Sheboygan County Foster Care, and two more groups were added for teenage girls in STARS.
The exhibit isn’t currently open to the public, but photographs from the exhibit can be found on the Facebook page for Kaleidoscope.