West Valley group received a Season for Sharing grant to help veterans

Connie Whitlock noticed there weren’t any community art classes offered in her Northwest Phoenix area.

Whitlock wanted to create an organization that involved residents and, being an artist herself, she knew how therapeutic art can be for people of all ages.

So, in 2006, Whitlock founded WHAM, What’s Happen’n Art Movement. WHAM offers classes for anyone from 5 to 105 years old. Participants include children, at-risk teens, special needs groups and veterans. Recent classes have also included survivors of sex trafficking.

Participants can explore drawing, painting, sculpting, poetry and photography. Whitlock has observed children become more focused while creating art. She has seen people with dementia smile, recognize and communicate with others.

“Art is an idea that someone is attempting to express to the world and to the world around them,” Whitlock said. “Art is so important to being a human.”

Robert G. Mull

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