Longview’s Newgate Mission offers healing through art

Updated: Jul. 16, 2019 at 4:00 PM CDT
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LONGVIEW, Texas (KLTV) - Healing through art is just one of the things Newgate Mission in Longview offers to those in need. We spoke to an artist offering up his knowledge and experience to lend a helping hand.

Anup Bhandari’s journey began in Nepal. He eventually came to East Texas and one day befriended a homeless man who was walking down Highway 80.

“So that was kind of like a turning point, and I wanted to do something with my art,” Anup said.

In the decade since, Anup has encouraged art to anyone who would like to try, Tuesdays at 9:30 a.m. At first, it was rough.

“Nobody showed up for like two, three weeks,” Anup said.

Anup realized he had to make some friends at Newgate. Once he did, things started improving.

“More and more people started coming, and then we did an art show. That was the first art show we did at the public library, and we sold a lot of their work,” Anup revealed.

A little bit of cash got the paint flowing more freely, although it wasn’t just about that.

“So they feel proud of their work,” Anup clarified.

Since that first show, many paintings have sold while others are in a storage room at Newgate. Director Hollie Bruce thinks the art class can change people.

“As a therapist I can definitely see the importance of art, music, any kind of artistic expression, in the therapeutic and healing process. It’s just a wonderful thing to see,” Hollie said.

Art student Curtis Walter agrees with Hollie.

“It makes you feel good about the finished product when you do something like this. Painting like this makes you feel good about what you painted, about yourself,” Curtis pointed out.

“And this has also been like an eye opening experience for me. And I love to make so many friends here, and everybody has their own story,” Anup said.

Some of these stories have been written down by the hands of Newgate clients and published in a book, “Faces of Newgate” with corresponding portraits painted by Anup.

In the meantime, Curtis put the finishing touches on a football helmet painting he’s sending to his grandson, and throws in his own version of a little extra artistic therapy.

“I see mountains of blue, skies of green ... Louis Armstrong ... What a beautiful world,” Curtis sang.

Oh, yeah.

Many artists’ paintings are for sale at Newgate, along with the book, “Faces of Newgate,” all for $40 each. The artist gets half the money, the other half goes to Newgate for more art supplies. They also wouldn’t hesitate to accept a donation of art supplies either. They invite everyone to stop by and take part Tuesday mornings at 9:30.

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