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Youth Haven enjoys an artistic collaboration with the famous local artist Paul Arsenault

Neapolitan artist Paul Arsenault stops by for a conversation with Linda Goldfield, CEO of Youth Haven, last week on the website of his mural project

Neapolitan artist Paul Arsenault stops by for a conversation with Linda Goldfield, CEO of Youth Haven, last week on the site of his mural project “The Critters of the Everglades”, a project that incorporates hands-on artistic help from children and teenagers on the Youth Haven campus. ERIC STRACHAN / FLORIDA WEEKLY

The art was cultivated last week on Youth Haven, Inc.’s 18.5-acre therapeutic campus as famed local artist Paul Arsenault collaborated with Youth Haven children and teens to paint an original mural on an exterior wall of one of the campus’ buildings. The theme of the mural is “The Critters of the Everglades”. Mr. Arsenault’s inspiration for the mural is based on the eight Seminole clans: Panther, Bear, Deer, Wind, Bigtown, Bird, Snake and Otter. The blue and yellow border of the mural shows support for the Ukrainian people.

Youth Haven is Southwest Florida’s only residential and emergency shelter for boys and girls between the ages of 10 and 19 who have been driven from their homes due to abuse, neglect or homelessness. Its programming addresses the trauma experienced and helps them heal by providing innovative therapies, normalizing experiences and therapeutic environments that assist in their healing journey. Art therapy is a crucial component of our youth’s healing process. Youth Haven’s arts program empowers children and teenagers to feel empowered and involved. It increases their sense of belonging and connection, decreasing their anxiety and stress levels.

“We are thrilled to welcome Paul Arsenault to Youth Haven,” said Linda Goldfield, CEO of Youth Haven. “Art is a naturally therapeutic activity and we are grateful that Paul is working with our children and teens to create a masterpiece on the side of Brownie’s Cottage. Young people are thrilled to see the daily progress of their mural! “

Mr. Arsenault is also creating the mural in homage to the late Mrs. Lavern N. Gaynor, his close personal friend and Youth Haven Honorary Lifetime Administrator and longtime supporter, who passed away in April 2021.

Mr. Arsenault, originally from Montreal, grew up in Hingham, Massachusetts, where his love of the sea and travel emerged. He began his career as a professional painter in Naples in 1974 and has embarked on painting trips to the Caribbean, Central and South America, Asia, the South Pacific, Indonesia, Australia, Hawaii and Europe. Arsenault’s vibrant and widely collected paintings reflect a rhythm and pattern that distinguish his easily recognizable style of him. His lifelong quest to paint contemporary life in coastal communities is enhanced by his passion for history and his natural storytelling ability.

Arsenault Studio & Banyan Arts Gallery in Old Naples closed in September 2021 after 30 years. As shared on his website, “Those who know us personally know that we are motivated to use art as a vehicle to raise awareness of the local, regional and global issues that matter to us.”

For more information on his artwork, visit www.arsenaultgallery.com/. ¦

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