ACA Community Artist
Atlantic Center for the Arts Community Artists are an integral part of ACA’s ongoing efforts to offer unique art related programming to New Smyrna Beach.
Atlantic Center for the Arts longtime Community Artist Shy Morris, draws upon her experience as a social justice advocate, including three years working with ACA Master Artist and MacArthur Genius Award Recipient Rick Lowe at Project Row Houses in Houston. She has an educational background in early childhood studies and creates fun, thoughtful art programs designed to encourage and educate children, teens, and adults.
IMAGES Middle School Art Program
Featuring local and regional artists from IMAGES: A Festival of the Arts, this monthly program brings high quality art activities to students at New Smyrna Beach Middle School. Exploratory project themes have included plein air, felting, color theory, and the artistic styles of Keith Haring and M.C. Esher. Supported by the ACA Volunteer League.
Wildcat Wellness Wednesdays
5th graders at Chisholm Elementary use art and creative conversations to take a deeper look at bullying and how they can be use positive affirmations to mirror respect and peace at home, in school and in their community.
Happy Steppers Double Dutch Team
Join ACA Community Artist, Shy Morris for a fun day of Double Dutch jump rope for the entire community. Supported by Atlantic Center for the Arts and AdventHealth Foundation every Wednesday, the teams will practice in the New Smyrna Beach Historic Westside at Pettis Park (800 Mary Avenue), providing a healthy creative wellness activity for all ages. Free, and open to everyone! Walk-ups welcome. Learn More
Feel Great Fridays (Volusia County Youth Motivator)
New Smyrna Beach High School. No preregistration required. In the courtyard during lunch, wellness activities are set up to help students destress from a busy week. Everyone can participate: staff, students, parents, and special groups. Once a month the special needs students can also participate in developmentally appropriate activities.
ACA provides a variety of programming on the Westside. Shy Morris has led projects including a Freedom Quilt mural in the Westside’s Pettis Park that incorporates symbols used by runaway slaves of the South to communicate with Abolitionists of the North while using the Underground Railroad. She also oversaw the completion of a large-scale community mural in the courtyard of the Alonzo Babe James Center. This mural celebrates the African-American experience and local history. It is the culmination of a year-long project in which children were taught basic artistic processes as well as history
Your donations to ACA support important programming like this to continue. Click here to donate.
Get to know the artist! Shy Morris, ACA Community Artist
What do you love about your work combining health and the arts?
I love being able to meet new people, reconnect old friendships and help bring the community together in common goals of healthier lifestyles.
What inspired you to pursue this field?
I was always inspired by community service. As a young girl growing up in NSB, my family (4th generation native to NSB) was always involved in creating a better community. So that part was natural. The Arts component was a little harder to get people to see it as a professional path. Working for ACA has help add validity to being an artist and the importance of the creative work and solutions this field provides. Its my dream life. I’m creating it as I am inspired by our community.
How have the arts been transformational in your life?
My art saved my life so many times. I’ve traveled all over the world as an artist. I’ve used my art to help provide positive images of self to help promote high self esteem, and as an educational tool in STEAM curricula. I’ve created drawing that were transformed into large public art pieces that have changed the idea of what art can be in communities of color. I’ve use my art to build a professional face painting business that provided income to help sustain my family when I was going through a divorce with four kids, no job and almost homeless. Also seeing the community transformed by me being able to live and work in a community that values my contribution has been extremely rewarding.
What’s special about the people of Volusia County or NSB?
The people of NSB are a special kinda people. I’ve been to a lot of great places but nothing like NSB. I appreciate the support throughout the county and in the City of NSB. There is something special about small town artists that carry a host of talents that some of my friends are amazing artist but so humble that they don’t want to call themselves artists.
What is the most rewarding part of your work with ACA?
The ability to be FREE. Sometimes as artists we don’t have the space to be creative and have our thoughts be able to manifest in the real world. Working at ACA is my dream because of the work that I’ve done for the past 7 years: Murals, dance and double dutch, eliminating bullies, drink more water challenges, senior art and wellness, interviewing seniors in the Historic Westside, community outreach, diversity building, working in Volusia County Schools and so much more came out of my mind to create positive solutions and programs that help provide socio-emotional learning experiences in intergenerational environments. Creatively changing the community.