Rainbow Thursday’s is a community-based art education program that connects developmentally disabled adults
with professional artists who provide them with the materials and training to express themselves through art.
Our art program at the Windmill Center was initiated by Jim and Jill Pustorino, local artists working at painting and drawing. They are the operators of Victory Hall Drawing Rooms in Jersey City, New Jersey.
James Pustorino is the Director of “Victory Arts Project”, a non-profit organization that produces art education programs and public projects in the NY/NJ area. Jim is joined by his wife Jill, also an artist, as well as his sister-in-law Kathleen Scipoione in providing artistic opportunities, classes and encouragement to the participants of the Windmill Center.
Jim and Jill both have Bachelors of Fine-Arts from Carnege Mellon. Kathleen has trained as an architect. Kathleen is interested in systems and structures, is adept at drawing and takes a more structural disciplined approach. She works with participants who are more detail oriented. Jim is originally from Brooklyn, New York. Jill and Kathleen are from Ohio. Jim originally started teaching art and art appreciation in Virginia and Pittsburgh. He eventually established Victory Hall and then Jim worked on programming for children at the Jersey City Museum.
Victory Hall and the Victory Hall Arts Project do outreach to children as well as providing a venue for art exhibits. Jim, Jill, and Kathleen are committed to working with as many artists as possible. They promote artists in some very intriguing ways- on the Martin Luther King, Jr. Light Rail and on fencing for the Jersey City Redevelopment Agency. They also work with Rise-Up, a group of artists in wheelchairs.
Fr. Greg Perez, President/CEO, of the Windmill Alliance, Inc. asked Jim to start an art program with the Windmill Center in May 2012, and the three artists have been teaching every Thursday morning since. The Program was named Rainbow Thursdays by one of the participants. The artists find it encouraging and invigorating to work with our Center’s participants in drawing and painting.
“Art is a language and the participants communicate interesting and wonderful work” said Jim.
The participants are both uplifting and hardworking. For example, Paulette works with colors. Many participants have an innate ability and more than a handful are very talented- so the goal is to see them interested in growing as artists. Both the Windmill Staff and participants look forward to each Thursday for this program.
Our participants are encouraged to develop their own individual drawing styles and are helped by seeing hundreds of famous art works on postcards and in books. They also learn for each other.
The Windmill Center works with more than 40 developmentally disabled participants each day. The Center offers a comprehensive range of programming-activities of daily living training, industry (shredding, recycling, stuffing envelopes, labeling), arts and crafts, menu planning and preparation. The Windmill Center was the first program of the Windmill Alliance beginning in 1985.