VSOA mural brightens LOTW dentistry offices
Do you suffer from dentophobia? Lots of people do: it’s fear of visiting the dentist.
Now imagine that you’re eight or nine years old – maybe older. You’ve never been to a dental office – probably never even heard of one. Your teeth and gums hurt so much that you can’t even eat. Maybe they’re so diseased that they even make you ill.
One day, you find yourself at Little Lights Dentistry in Stuart. There are strange people in uniforms with tools you’ve never seen, telling you to do things in a language you may not understand. You’re petrified.
That was the situation facing the multi-lingual staff at Light of the World Charities (LOTW), the nonprofit under which Little Lights Dentistry operates, providing free dental care for uninsured, low-income children living on the Treasure Coast from their first birthdays through high school graduation.
Executive Director Lori Sang thought that gaily colored whimsical murals might help alleviate the stress and fear and applied for a grant from Impact 100 Martin to seed the project and purchase supplies and equipment for one year. In 2022, LOTW received the grant and the search for an artist/muralist was on.
That’s where Lynne Barletta and the talented folks from Visionary School of Arts (VSOA) came in.
Barletta is well-known for the stunning murals she has created in Martin County and received the commission to do the Little Lights Dentistry project. In July, 2022 she, Alicia Jones, staff teachers and artist teachers of VSOA began the spectacular project, finishing on Labor Day weekend. One Saturday, VSOA interns and some of the experienced children who study at the school were invited to participate.
Virtually every room and wall at Little Lights Dentistry is a colorful creative wonder, eliciting excitement and joy from patients and staff alike. Barletta developed the concept for each mural. Alicia Jones contributed the treasure map design of Martin County.
There are spots designed to take selfies in front of the paintings and a special Impact 100 Martin room as a tribute to the women who made the project a financial possibility.
Barletta was thrilled to be a part of this transformative project. She says “This mural has been a labor of love for children, as well as a powerful collaboration of local non-profits.”
“The mural and support for Little Lights Dentistry will impact children for generations to come”, said Sang.