Cary Visual Art Teams Up with Life Experiences

CVA workshops at Life Experiences

Cary, NC — Cary Visual Art and Life Experiences, Inc. are two local non-profits that do incredible things in our community. Last week, with the help of successful artist Eric McRay, the organizations joined together to create fun workshops for employees at the Life Experiences facility.

Cary Visual Art Workshops

Cary Visual Art, or CVA, commissions and places outdoor sculptures, galleries, permanent placements, and other works of art around town to improve and enhance the community. These exhibitions bring a unique beauty and character to Cary, but something even more important is happening in the background.

CVA Director Mary Davis Wallace has been working extremely hard to carry out another mission of the organization–a mission to bring art and its enjoyment to those who may not have access to it. Since the organization’s beginning, but even more so in the past few years, CVA has held interactive art workshops with senior citizens, students, individuals with disabilities, and other groups.

Last week, on Tuesday, December 9, 2014, CVA brought local artist Eric McRay to Life Experiences, Inc. to make mixed media collages with the organization’s employees.

CVA Artist Workshop at Life Experiences

Most of CVA’s workshops involve the participation of a local artist–and Eric was the perfect teacher for this event. Eric received his BFA from the Maryland Institutes College of Art, and he currently works and exhibits art from his Downtown Raleigh studio as a tenant of Artspace.

CVA workshops at Life Experiences

From left: Artist Eric McRay, CVA Director Mary Davis Wallace, and Life Experiences Executive Director Mary Madenspacher–three devoted, kind, and energetic people.

Making art is already fun, but Eric takes the process to a whole other level. Most of his works are centered around painting and mixed media collages that encourage artists to use a variety of different textures, shapes, and elements in their work.

At the Life Experiences event, Eric gave each participant a sheet of white paper and, from there, imaginations were released. Stickers, markers, and paper scraps of all colors encouraged each artist to create their own unique masterpiece. The finished results were colorful, lively, and incredibly creative.

CVA workshops at Life Experiences

One of the many collages made by an employee at Life Experiences, Inc.

The Significance of Art Workshops

Goofy smiles were on the faces of everyone in attendance as the workshop unfolded. It was hard to ignore the significance of the event–and how much joy it brought everyone.

Life Experiences, Inc. is already an inspiring place. Executive Director Mary Madenspacher, along with a great group of staff and volunteers, works hard everyday to create an upbeat, social, and productive work environment for adults with developmental disabilities.

The 15,000 square foot building provides employees with opportunities to serve the community and to earn their own wages from doing so. Additionally, Life Experiences employees are able to spend quality time with each other throughout work hours–and Eric’s activity added the perfect amount of excitement to their workday.

CVA workshops at Life Experiences

Life Experiences bakers and kitchen staff take a break to smile before they begin their craft with Eric.


Story by Jessica Patrick. Photos from Cary Visual Art.

4 replies
  1. Becca Smith
    Becca Smith says:

    What a great article of two wonderful organizations in Cary teaming up together! I’m so proud to be involved with both CVA and LE! Love the artwork too!

  2. TJ Cawley
    TJ Cawley says:

    Having toured the Life Experiences facility last month and meeting so many smiling faces there I am not surprised that this event was a great success.
    I encourage anyone who is interested in learning more about this great organization give them a call and arrange for a tour, you will be glad you did ;)

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