BINGHAMTON, NY – The Ross Park Zoo and a local mosaic artist are teaming up to engage female veterans through the arts and volunteerism.
The zoo announced a new public art installation today as part of what it’s calling Project VOICE.
VOICE stands for Veteran Opportunity for Integration and Community Engagement.
The idea started when artist Emily Jablon began working with female veterans at her glass mosaic studio in Binghamton.
Some of the roughly 20 vets referred by Clear Path for Veterans and the Southern Tier Veterans Support Group face challenges such as having been a victim of sexual assault and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Together they will create a 120 square foot mosaic along the wall beneath the viewing glass inside the zoo’s Great Cats of Asia building which features its Amur and Snow Leopards.
The goal is to build self-esteem and create a social support system.
“It’s real peaceful. You just sit and work. It’s all colors and designing and using your art skills. It’s just a real pleasure and something I love to do,” says Lehr.
Jablon says they’re currently working on a cheetah print theme for the mosaic which will be constructed in her studio and then installed in the Spring.
The Women’s Fund of the Community Foundation provided $8,000 to pay for the project.