Christian Artist Paints Portraits in Nursing Homes

posted in: Arts Outreach | 0

Here is a lovely outreach idea; painting portraits of nursing home residents.

This article was written by ERIK TRYGGESTAD and appeared in | The Christian Chronicle
Roy Leandro uses his iPad to show portraits he painted. The church member hopes one day to use his talents to help the needy in Africa. Photo By ERIK TRYGGESTAD
LA FORTUNA, COSTA RICARoy Leandro has an iPad full of wrinkles and smiles.

Taking a brief respite during a gospel lectureship in this Central American resort town, he flips through a collection of portraits on his tablet computer. Each represents an old soul — a resident of a nursing home visited by the Costa Rican artist last summer.

“What I want to do is make them feel happy and comfortable with their own image,” he says. “I want them to know, ‘You are a piece of art.’”

Portrait painting, on its surface, doesn’t seem an obvious way to help the elderly. It didn’t seem that way to Leandro, either.

Leandro, 34, is a member of the Sabanilla Church of Christ near Costa Rica’s capital, San Jose. He says the idea for his unique ministry came during a trip to visit his sister in Sweden.

“I told her I was not interested in doing tourist stuff,” Leandro says. Instead, he wanted a chance to serve others — perhaps volunteering at a nursing home. He envisioned busing tables and sweeping floors, but workers at the home were fascinated by his art.

He spent time with the home’s residents and started sketching them.

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