A group of Valle Verde residents in Santa Barbara are using art to inspire themselves and others.

According to the National Center for Creative Aging, art helps heal the spirit. Not only is art good for the mind, it’s proven that art can be a positive healing tool for all older adults.

When Fayrene Parrish and her husband, Ted — both professional, well-known artists — moved to Valle Verde nearly two years ago, they established a new program called Art From the Heart, which has become a popular activity at the senior living community. Fayrene quickly learned several of her friends and neighbors shared the same passion for the arts, and understood the many benefits for people their age.

The group’s membership has grown to more than 50 artists over the last couple of years. Some members are professional artists, some are amateurs looking to have fun, and others come to simply enjoy the work of others and to be inspired.

One resident, 83-year-old Jim Dow, is a retired dentist who started dabbling in jewelry-making many years ago, using gold scraps that once were used to fill cavities. He now continues to work with his hands, and expresses his love for art through exquisite paintings.

Paul Edwards is a 97-year-old resident who worked at Walt Disney in the 1940s and even created the university mascot for Emporia State in Kansas 80 years ago.

Many of the residents find inspiration for their artwork on campus. One of the group’s favorite places to go is the Mosaic Garden, which was created last spring with funds donated by residents. Many of the resident artists use their passions for the good of others. Fayrene, Ted, Jim and Paul have all generously donated their pieces to local and national organizations.

Art From the Heart is hosting a social hour at 3:30 p.m. Monday, May 20 in the Ray Schneider Social Room at Valle Verde, where more than 10 residents will display their prized art pieces.

— Dani Row is a publicist representing Valle Verde.