Vibrant paintings, created by the residents of Asbury Dwellings’ senior citizen complex in Northwest D.C., were showcased at the “Jamboree of Contemporary Art,” held at the apartment community on March 18.

The event, which brought together many local residents, honored the senior citizens who participated in recreational art sessions at the complex in January.

The sessions and the final showcase were created by 15-year-old Silver Spring resident Lafayette Wallace Phillips III. Phillips, a Boy Scout in Troop 96 at the People’s Community Baptist Church, created the event to fulfill a leadership project that would heighten his rank in the Eagle Boy Scout program.

The teen wanted to ensure his project involved his own church, Asbury United Baptist, and met with his pastor last summer to develop a project that infused his personal interest of art.

Thus, the program was born, and he raised funds to purchase materials to bring art back into the lives of the senior citizen residents.

During the sessions, Phillips sketched contemporary pieces and the seniors filled in and painted them.

The teen’s mother, Janis Nero-Phillips says her son has always shown a strong interest in art, even at a young age. She explained that his ultimate goal is to become an animator for Walt Disney.

“From the age of 5, Wallace was always an artist,” she said. When he was 2, I knew that he had incredible artistic ability because while the other kids were drawing outside the lines, he was drawing inside the lines very meticulously.”

And Phillips’ love for art rubbed off on the seniors in the community. Nero-Phillips said the jamboree was a success, as it thrilled the residents to see their own work on display.

“This project was really nice because it’s brought a permanent aspect to the residence because they never had any art on the walls or in the hallways,” she said. When he did his grand opening art event, the residents were so pleased and happy that they get to look at the art that they created forever.”

Gregory Dale

AFRO News Editor