AFA Seeds of Wonder

 August 14, 2019

 August 2019: Summer Please Stay

Judy’s Garden:

Summer please don’t leave us yet. I want another month of July.  This has been the best summer in the 22 years I have lived in this house – as far as my gardens go. It is the most colorful summer yet – with my coreopsis, daisies, daylilies, rudbeckia, honeysuckle, summersweet, phlox, butterfly weed, and milkweed. It is so colorful with shades of oranges, yellows, and purples. 

I planted two new plants that I’ve never heard of before: turtlehead and bugbane. They make me wonder where the names of plants come from. There is a rabbit that lives in my yard and only has half an ear.  He sure likes the taste of my new turtleheads. 

When I first moved into this house, there were only about five trees. Now, there are 22. I have eight Japanese maples that will be amazing this fall because of the various colors of their leaves. Some of the maples will only be 5 feet tall when they’re full grown. They are such an amazing tree. 

Color is so important to me because as my eyesight continues to decline, I need more contrasting colors in order to see things in my garden. I also love the texture in my yard. Variety of colors and textures is important when gardening. Landscaping certainly uses all the elements of art: color, shape, line, texture, etc. My backyard is my place of wonder and joy. I wish you could all be here to see it and experience it for yourself.

What brings wonder, awe, inspiration, and “wow” to you? What brings you joy? Moments of wonder and joy deserve to be cherished and sought after. Attempt to relish and experience wonder and joy.  They are good for you, your heart, and your soul

Arts For All, Inc.:

Arts For All is beginning to offer classes tailored to individuals with special needs. We want ALL people to experience the arts (hey, it’s in our name). AFA is offering a pilot program for individuals with vision challenges.  The program begins on Thursday, August 29 at 5:30pm. Each week students will work with clay, paint, and fiber for 1 and ½ hours. This 14-week program is located in Millard at St. Thomas Lutheran Church (17007 Q St). This program is designed to cover various types of art that can be done at home and help the students become tactile artists.  At the end of the program, AFA is hosting an art show to display the students’ work. The low vision workshop is available to students 10 years old and older. Contact AFA for more details. 402-708-3085

The Arts:

“Special needs” may include lack of vision and sometimes lack of color.  For Spencer Caradine, this is the case. His story was so inspiring to me. These firefighters discovered how big of a difference color can make. They helped their color-blind friend see the US flag for the first time – in color. A “wow” experience for sure.  Watch the full story here.

Community Event:

I have a love for trees, and I know many other people do, too.  Now you can fall in love with trees even more because you can climb, zip and swing through them. Fontenelle Forest has a brand-new activity: TreeRush Adventures.       


It allows you to be 55 feet off the ground up in the trees. I would love this except I am very uncomfortable with heights but being surrounded by trees sounds amazing. Did you know that we all have DNA and so do trees? Trees could help solve our air quality problems. Trees are beautiful and do so much for animals, birds, and humans. Trees should be celebrated and enjoyed. When you’re up in the trees think about color, texture, sound, and just experience moments of wonder and joy. For more information about Fontenelle Forest’s TreeRush Adventures program visit this link.


Arts For All, Inc.:

There are many reasons that AFA’s logo is a heart.  The heart does so much for our bodies. There is a field of energy that surrounds our hearts. It is about 5 feet wide. Keeping this field positive is great for you, your heart and overall health. When this field is positive, you enjoy your life more. We all have a heart and so we all have this energy field.  Through this field we are all connected. Open your heart and cultivate that connection with others. 

A Story of Wonder:

I want to leave you with a heartwarming story that keeps me believing in the power of compassion, empathy, and love. I heard about the story of two young children who decided to help their friend at the water park. Their friend has cerebral palsy and can’t tolerate the cold. The cold water makes his muscles tighten up and makes it harder for him to walk. Two of his friends hugged him and held his arms while he walked to keep him warm and help him walk. 

They spent the whole day at the waterpark helping him. They took care of one another and were able to bring joy and fun to their friend. I find this story so amazing.  It shows the power of empathy and connectedness. These kids opened their hearts. 


There is a song that has been around for a long time called “It’s In Everyone of Us.” I hope you listen to it and look into the faces and eyes of others. Listen to it here


Happy August.



July 3, 2019


Who is Judy Mallory?

To sum it up: Judy Mallory is a creator.  She also happens to be the Founder and Executive Director of Arts For All, Inc., a non-profit that helps individuals and families in the Omaha-Metro area experience the arts. Judy has been a creator since she was a child.  Later in her life, Judy realized her dream was to incorporate her love of the arts with her life’s emphasis on service.  With that dream, a few fellow supporters and a heart full of determination, Judy opened the doors of Arts For All, Inc. in 2006. Today, Judy continues to create.  She takes hands-on classes, decorates her beautiful home with art and cultivates her extensive backyard garden – all while managing Arts For All, Inc. This blog, Seeds of Wonder, is Judy’s newest creation. 

So, without further ado, Judy Mallory’s first edition of Seeds of Wonder:

July 2019

I started Arts For All, Inc. (AFA for short) 13 years ago. I felt it was my purpose, my calling and my dream for 30+ years. Besides my family and friends whom I love dearly, AFA keeps me alive. For me, AFA is not only a way to help others experience the arts, it is something for me to be passionate about.  It helps me focus on something positive, rather than the medical challenges in my life. I have Stage 4 metastatic breast cancer that has spread to my bones. I have been facing it for over 8.5 years.  My friends, family and AFA have kept me going. These things give me a purpose. Research shows that purpose does more for the ill than diet and medications can do. AFA is my purpose. I want to help others find theirs.  I hope Seeds of Wonder will inspire you to find your purpose.

What is Seeds of Wonder?

I will be writing once a month sharing a story or two, information about Arts For All, Inc., telling you about a local event you may want to attend and talking about the arts beauty, creativity and wonder.

Seeds of Wonder will cover the following five topics:

• Arts For All, Inc. events and classes  
• Fun and inspiring tidbits about the arts 
• Community events 
• Judy’s garden 
• Stories of wonder and synchronicity  

Arts For All, Inc.:

Fall semester is coming up for Arts For All, Inc.! Classes begin the week of August 26 and run for 14 weeks. All classes are one hour. We offer the following classes: Dance, painting, acting, improv, piano, guitar, photography, cartooning, clay drums, voice and more!

The Arts:

The Handel and Haydn Cello concert in Boston finished its performance this year and before the audience started clapping, when the concert hall was completely silent, everyone heard a small voice say, “Wow” out loud. This was the first time something like this had happened – no one before had audibly said “Wow” at the end of a classical music performance for all to hear. What a sense of wonder. The conductor and orchestra were honored. What a tribute to the musicians and their music. Everyone clapped, and all wanted to know who the person was behind the “Wow.” The conductor searched through all the ticket sales to find the mysterious enthusiast. 

It turns out that a grandfather brought his autistic 9-year-old grandson, Stephen, to the concert. Stephen was the boy who was so taken that he spoke. Due to his autism, he was not a child who spoke often, especially not about how he felt or in front of big crowds. This performance moved him to speak.  Music changed his life. Music does so much more than we can imagine. What a wonder and blessing for Stephen.  I say, “Wow” many times a day. What makes you say, “Wow”?

Community Event:

Don’t miss out! The three-week celebration of Shakespeare is coming to an end.  If you have not had a chance to make it to Shakespeare On The Green this summer, you still have a chance to catch the performance of Hamlet on July 2nd, 3rd and 6th. The July 3rd performance of Hamlet will be a special late-night, after-dark event.  Preshow entertainment starts at 6pm. The performance of Hamlet begins at 8pm and runs for two and a half hours.  Shakespeare On The Green is a kid and pet friendly event! There are activities for the whole family. Shakespeare On The Green is located at 411 1/2 N Elmwood Rd, Omaha, NE  68132. Parking is available on UNO’s campus. For more information visit Nebraska Shakespeare here:

Judy’s Garden:

I am a gardener of sorts now. I am legally blind and every day my eyes get a little worse; however, I can still see some of the flowers. This year my peonies were very late blooming…they usually bloom around Memorial Day. Peonies were the most popular flower people cut and took to the graves on Memorial Day when pay their respects. I have four bushes of peonies: two white, one hot pink and one that bloomed the brightest yellow. I could see this color and it was amazing. A true bright yellow- cadmium yellow. It was a yellow that took your breath away. I love warm, bright intense colors in my gardens. What colors catch your eye?

A Story of Wonder:

17 years ago, twin girls were born prematurely by several weeks.  One of the twins had severe health issues and was put in an incubator in a separate hospital room. The twins were separated – different incubators in different rooms.  One of the girls was doing well, but her sister was rapidly declining. A concerned nurse at the hospital went against protocol and took the healthy twin and placed her in the incubator with her struggling sister.  

As soon the healthy twin was laid down next to her sister, she put her arm around her. Right when the twins were together and embracing one another, the struggling sister began to get better.  The healthy twin deliberately reached out to help her sister. This story is a perfect example of how we all are compassionate, caring and loving.  It is instinctive for us – it is part of who we are as humans. This story shows how we as humans are all connected.  It shows the healing power of touch and togetherness.



April 17, 2019

 Nature’s Artistic Beauty

A parade of colors are all around us every day. Nature playfully displays a bounty of colors that can inspire creativity and art like nothing else. I think about this as I plan my garden every year. I like to use analogous colors: those that are warm red yellow orange and next to each other on the color wheel – for contrast I throw in purples and dark blues. It makes for a stunning presentation.

I would love to create a small garden bed that would be designed to attract Monarch butterflies. I was intrigued by a local story that came out late last year about the unlikely partnership between a large pork producer and the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) to provide suitable habitats for the Monarch butterflies to help bolster the population of this beautiful creature.

There are so many other stories about farmers and gardeners planting to attract Monarch butterflies. It’s inspirational – apparently it’s not only those of us who are artistically-minded who have the desire to keep the splendor of colors bountiful in nature.

The power of creativity
Everyone has the power to be creative. Even if you think to yourself, “I haven’t a creative bone in my body,” there are things you can do to help spark your inner creativity. Consider these ideas to compel you to use your senses:

•Learn to play an instrument.
•Pick up a paint brush and give painting a try.
•Write out your thoughts and observations.
•Dig in the dirt!
•Try new cooking recipes.
•Go for a drive in an area of town you don’t typically drive through.
•Take photos – not of yourself, but of the things around you.

Your inclination of being non-creative may simply be a product of you not giving creative things a try. When is the last time you allowed yourself to be curious about the world around you?

Pause for beauty
Much like color, beauty is all around us. Pause to acknowledge beauty when you encounter it and find the connection: if beauty happens here, where else is it happening? To what is it connected?

A collection of points equidistant from a center
Nature forms a wide variety of shapes for our viewing pleasure, but none are quite as fascinating to me as circles. I love squares and triangles, but I oftentimes find myself looking for circles in my surroundings. I challenge you to do the same: seek out the circles and delight in their natural occurrence all around you.

Rock & Roll and The Met
Although this doesn’t necessarily fit with the theme of art in nature, it’s worth a mention because of its extraordinarily artistic partnership. The Metropolitan Museum recently announced a new exhibition that will “address the synergy between rock music and fashion.” We all know that popular musicians have a profound impact on the fashion world – so much so that some of them are paid hefty amounts just to wear a particular piece. This new exhibition will showcase the symbiotic relationship between rock & roll and fashion – both artistic endeavors that help bring beauty into the world.

Nature in art
The image below is from Jerry Jacoby’s floral series. Jerry was not only one of my favorite artists, but he was a dear friend and avid supporter of Arts for All, Inc. He was a prolific artists and a talented musician, and he had the distinct ability to capture nature’s art in his work. 

I think that looking at works like Jerry’s help people to realize how beautiful nature truly is. The image above isn’t outlandish or impossible to stumble upon in nature, yet its beauty is undeniable. Beauty is all around us!

Puzzle solution from the Fall Blog
The last blog in the fall had a puzzle for you to solve.  Here is the answer in case you could not figure it out.  Check it out. 

All the pictures or items such as a plane or a wine bottle have things in common as they are parts of a person’s face/neck.

•The neck of the bottle
•The face of the clock
•The eye on a needle
•The nose of a plane

Figure out the rest of them and consider how we use language. What’s in a name?

April 2, 2019

Take a moment to read about this man’s incredible journey.

Video & Article


Welcome back if you are a former AFA blog reader or new to Arts For All or this blog written by me, Judy Mallory the Founder and Executive Director of AFA.  Through this blog four times a year representing the start of a new season, we will cover all of the arts, not all of them in a single post.

I am working from my AFA home office most of the time because I have Stage 4 Metastatic breast cancer that sits on my bones.  In February it will be 8 years. I don’t give up. I have not written for the blog for a time because of surgeries, rehab, tests, change of medication and working on living with low vision and possibly being blind someday.  I don’t see well enough to drive now and I am working with the Low Vision Clinic. I am special needs and AFA will be working on adding to our curriculum, over time, classes and workshops to help those who need different ways of creating and learning.  I focus a lot on art and as others start to lose their sight, they come to appreciate so much more about what they can see. I always have cared and been involved with the arts and have degrees in arts education and counseling. The arts can heal and impact academics, and pleasure in lives.  I am writing this blog for many reasons but some reasons are I want all of us to look at, listen to a wider range of beautiful, creative expressions, bring more pleasure into your life and the world around us. I am passionate about Arts For All, Inc., it keeps me alive. Having something to care about, be involved in and make a difference is one of the main reasons I believe I am still able to work.  Many doctors believe attitude is one of the most important defenses against cancer or other health challenges. The blog is an easy way to reach out too many. I believe my purpose is to serve, to educate, and to help others to see the beauty in the world. If so, then we all may be able to take better care of our environment (including people) and improve the quality of our lives.

Research recently talked about the value of being involved in the arts for making a positive impact on your brain.  Once you are creating art, performing theater, or music, or dance, it helps your brain in different ways than when you are simply listening or viewing…also does wonders for your health and enjoyment.  The arts can go with you for your entire life. Even if you do not want to be a painter or composer, the arts are part of all of our lives in many ways not usually thought of. Hands on learning makes a big difference.  AFA offers many opportunities through classes, workshops, camps, parties to provide opportunities- please join us.

Before reading this section listen to this version of Autumn Leaves by Patricia Barber. 

Planting seeds for readers to develop awe and wonder, joy and turning off the stress for a couple moments that may carry on during the day.

Take a walk preferably in the woods, forest, or park. Try a neighborhood, Neale Woods, or Fontenelle Forest.

Wonder at how leaves change color, all the colors, textures, sounds of leaves crunching under foot, leaves blowing in the light breezes, air smells differently, less humid, take a deep breath.  At home you could be planting bulbs to have spring flowers pop up; isn’t this amazing bulbs surviving the frozen winter to spring forth in the warmth. When in my gardens and yard (where I love to spend a lot of time) I am thinking about how incredible it is. Flowers, trees, produce, and weeds all grow from some tiny seeds or bulbs or acorns (squirrels are busy digging up my flower pots to hide acorns for the winter).  I have 8 Japanese Maples, most are very small as I can’t afford to buy large ones but even small and growing slowly, they change colors more so than many other trees; they are beautiful and I have to catch my breath when I look at them. Reds, orange, yellows in my back yard and orange and red in my front yard, even some purple. My backyard garden and yard are very secluded even though I live in midtown. Trees line the perimeters and fence provides trellises for clematis and other vines, there is a small pond with a waterfall.  I go to my backyard for peace, a secluded secret garden where I can come to my senses.

Below is an instrumental version of the same song Autumn Leaves. This version is by Oscar Peterson. Listen and compare the differences and similarities.


Come to Your Senses

My granddaughter Sophia spent a week with me this summer and would walk with me through the yard and look at all that was growing (sometimes weeds).  She is and always was an incredible artist and now plays the big string bass and is deciding where to go to college for both art and science. We talked about the elements of art: Color, Shape, Texture, Line, Space, and more.  These elements are part of all of our lives and are used by engineers or Landscape Designers or even you as a gardener. When designing for planting consider the colors and have color all year long, some place. Think about size of bushes, leaves, trees, and flowers and their textures. There are so many elements to consider including sunlight; when finished it works together to give pleasure all year long. In the back yard I have a very small pond. It has a small waterfall so sound is always there and makes it more relaxing. This is my secret garden retreat, my destresser.  I don’t even mind pulling a weed or twelve. My sight is changing and I am not able to see what is growing as well as I used to but then the other senses kick in. The waterfall, the breezes, the sound of the breeze in all of my trees, the birds, the smells of blooming shrubs and flowers fill me peace.

Here is one of my favorite old hymns (here is writing as an art) No matter what your faith is, consider these words written in 1838 by Conrad Kocher.

“For the beauty of the earth
For the glory of the skies
For the Love which from our birth
Over and around us lies
Lord of all to Thee we raise
This our hymn of grateful praise.”

This song makes me reflect on all the beauty with this hymn and all the beauty that surrounds us, every day.  Focus on the beauty and not all of the tragedy that may surround you. Enjoy this video of Warren Bernhardt’s Praise. It is very uplifting no matter your faith.


Song is so important to feel the essence of Autumn.  Not just the sounds (even in the last recording you will hear sounds of nature) but how the songs were inspired by the season. For you, how do some of the songs express fall?  The two different recordings of Autumn leaves have different moods and tones even though they are about the same event, falling leaves.

In a few days it will be October and this means to many Halloween.

Do you ever carve a different face on your pumpkin? You should do this this fall.  Design and make it a family project. Here are some interesting pumpkins to inspire you.  Have carving fun no matter the size of your pumpkin.

The arts were definitely involved in Halloween.  In Europe trick or treating went on but if you went from house to house wanting a treat you had to perform either a dance, a song, a play, or something choreographed. Another fun fact about Halloween. There is an Irish myth about a man named Jack who roamed through the countryside and carried a lantern usually made by carving out a gourd, potato, turnip, or pumpkin and placed a candle inside making a lantern.  This is where we get the term Jack-O-Lantern.

I want you to look at things in a more expansive way, this helps with creativity and fun.

Complete this puzzle, if you think you have solved it, send me an email. The first person to solve will get a small reward.  I want to see if people are doing their “homework”.

What do the following items help to create? What do they then have in common?  Relax, think outside the box a little and have fun. Here are the puzzle items:

(send solution to my personal email

Another assignment:  Look around and since it is fall, look for warm colors: red, orange, yellow. They may appear everywhere, you just weren’t looking or focusing before.  Another element of art is shape so for this season look for squares. Maybe you will see this shape everywhere. I am typing this in my small home office I have wallpaper with nothing but medium sized squares, black, and browns.

Movement of the Muse

I hope you will stop and have moments in your day when you can focus, concentrate, let go of stress and experience something visual, hearing, or the feeling of awe and wonder.  Just for a moment or two. Leonardo DaVinci an artist, inventor, scientist and a person who was fascinated with all, the connection of things, wondering, his curiosity was amazing.  If I can help a few others to be more curious, and appreciative of the beauty and the inter connectedness of everything, I will be so happy. I have been accused of being addicted to beauty.

I love finding the beauty; visually, hearing, feeling (kinesthetic) and emotion, taste and smell. We will be adding culinary arts to Arts For All and will write about this aspect in the winter blog.  The schools focus on STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) AFA adds art making it STEAM. However, I am always in favor of a liberal arts education. I also see the beauty in people and that to me then brings in the value of history, understanding, being curious and the connection to all of our beautiful world.  So look around, it could be the old adage stop and smell the roses but it is certainly still a good idea.

I love architecture so want to end each blog with a picture of a very unusual building that relates to this blog.  Please look at the building for the business in upper New York state that is called Play. Isn’t this building fun? The whole idea.  Have fun with play and with the arts.

I leave you with a very traditional classical music piece that is a shortened version of Vivaldi’s Autumn.

Listen to all of the sounds that are looking at aspects of Autumn.

I will be writing and posting in December to bring in Winter.

Happpy Thanksgiving.

-Judy Mallory

[Posted on September 24, 2018]