Guest Blog To Warm Your Heart…..

I enjoy being able to share pieces that you might not otherwise run across and Marie Wagner sent me one that falls into this category. I met Marie last year during the Homestead Book Fair and even though they didn’t stay in the Florida area for long, we had some good experiences together. They had lived in Alaska for many years and Marie’s photographs are lovely. In this case though, she became involved with a project that is truly heartwarming. I will now let Marie “tell” you about it.

From Marie: Participation in art can fling open the windows of the spirit and allow the nurturing rays of imagination to flow into the minds of children with disabilities and people recovering from trauma. Anyone stuck in the doldrums can be lifted and inspired by art.

Birds, butterflies, turtles, the majesty of nature; all are inspiring subjects that start the creative juices flowing. Chugach Arts Council just completed a collaborative project with Pinecrest Gardens and VSA FL to create a beautiful book of children’s art featuring the beautiful flora and fauna at Pinecrest.

The mission of VSA FL is to ensure that people with disabilities can learn, participate in and enjoy the arts. The mission of Pinecrest Gardens is to enrich the lives of the community through cultural arts, education and the sustainable management of its public garden. Together, VSA FL and Pinecrest Gardens are working to incorporate nature and the arts in a safe and accepting environment for all children.

VSA FL’s Teaching Artist, Yvette Cotera, and the Pinecrest Gardens Educational Coordinator, Lisa Toy, teamed up in 2014 to create an all-inclusive educational arts program open to kids of all abilities. This was the first collaboration between VSA FL and Pinecrest Gardens. The tangible result was a collection of wonderful art work by the children as a result of their time and study of plants, animals, and insects in and around Pinecrest Gardens in South Florida.

Chugach Arts Council connected with the two groups and compiled a collection that features art from 4 projects, Florida Butterflies, Migrating Monarchs, Hummingbirds and Pollinators and Turtle Island. Artist and author, Marie Wagner composed an original poem to accompany the art. This charming book of art is available through Pinecrest Gardens or online at:

TIP for viewing online: Click on the GRAY / Preview tab at the base of the cover image to view ALL pages online

May you be inspired and uplifted by the experience.

Marie Wagner, Chugach Arts Council, Executive Director



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