People and Places: The Borrowed Artist

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It looks like a regular storefront on the outside, but there’s so much more to this Richlands art studio.

“We want to offer a nice, safe, secure, enjoyable place for people to be able to come to spend some time,” said Malia Torres, owner of The Borrowed Artist.

The Borrowed Artist is the brainchild of artist Malia Torres.

Here you can get lessons from her or schedule a paint party with more than a dozen of your friends.

But for Torres, this space is about so much more.

“I was working on Camp Lejeune for the last six years,” said Torres. And as an artist, I came to understand and meet a lot of my marines that I dealt with that were interested in art and had some PTSD issues. It gives them an outlet for emotional stressors and anxieties. Artwork in a structured environment can be a very self-esteem building. It helps them learn to project their feelings onto the paper.”

And whether it’s Marines or civilians who come in, Malia wants them to enjoy being creative.

“They will learn anything from pen and ink to pencil sketching to charcoal painting, down to some technical things as well,” said Torres. And they’ll learn how to apply that to help their emotional needs.”

The space also features some of Malia’s works for sale, as well as painted furniture.

“I think it’s a dream come true for her,” said Harriet Torres, Malia’s mother. She has been a dreamer all her life and now it’s coming to fruition to have her own place to express herself and to help others.”

And that’s what’s at the heart of The Borrowed Artist, helping others.

Especially military members and their families.

“My whole family is military,” said Harriet. All my nieces and nephews and my father and my husband were all in the service. And they all paid the price. And they never had anything available to them like this. So, it’s fabulous.”

“In the local areas we don’t have a lot of arts and culture available for not just our military, but our rural communities,” said Malia. And it’s very important. It’s very rewarding when I was working on base helping the marines and working with the Marines and to see the need that they had to find an outlet for the stressors of military life. And that became a very good way for them to heal on the inside is by creating on the outside.”

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