Discover all the different careers Opportunity Village has to offer with this series of in-depth profession overviews. 

Meet Stanley W., Art Mentor

In this series of "Day in the Life of ____", we will be highlighting the various professions Opportunity Village has to offer. This feature is focused on the role of Art Mentor.

What led you to OV/your current position? 

I’ve had a long career in teaching, almost 40 years. It’s the best way I’ve found to support myself as an artist. Prior to coming to OV I was a Special Ed, Adult Ed teacher and Corporate Trainer. My favorite teaching work has been with Adults, both young and senior, abled and disabled. When a friend sent me the ad for Art Mentor they saw that it was a perfect fit. Teaching, art and working with people who could benefit from the unique growth experience that creativity can provide. When I got here, I was surprised and delighted to find that the Fine and Performing Arts program was more than just a class like those in school. It is a development program that uses art and creativity to increase individual growth. So, I’ve spent the last 5+ years enjoying being an Art Mentor.

What does a typical day look like for you?

My day usually starts at 9 am but there is nothing typical about my day! I may be organizing the Art Studios, preparing class activities for the art program, classes for virtual arts programming, working on special projects like commissions and gifts for donors, or functioning as a Direct Care Staff. Sometimes, I can be found in my favorite place- the Woodshop. However, the main part of my day is dedicated to teaching using fine art techniques that encourage individual expression. I may be doing any one of those other jobs during my day.  I really enjoy the variety.

What is the most exciting part of your job?

The most exciting part of my job is when an individual creates something unexpected and unique for them. More often than not it takes a lot of encouragement and experimentation with materials to get to that point. Over time, eventually, an individual will show a different artistic ability than what is expected. All OV shares in that success on certain levels. I am extra proud to be a part of that process!

Who inspires you? 

I’m inspired by the great teachers: M.L. King, Ghandi and Mandela. These were the people who taught the world justice and peace. They have always been role models for teaching and being stewards of positive change. They are the reason I learned to look at our population as individuals with “Different Ability” not Disability; “Differently Abled” not Disabled.

What is your favorite thing to do when you're not working? 

My studio time and making my own art is my favorite thing to do when I’m not working. Also, watching offbeat movies and eating sushi with my wife and daughter.

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