Rehoboth-based nonprofit brings together art and community development

Many people have experienced the power of art, whether they’ve realized it or not.

Maybe your breath caught while watching a movie or perhaps something stirred when you read a poem. It could even be a lyric in a song or the strokes in a painting that branded itself into your memory.

For one Delaware artist, this realization about art’s power set her life and career on a whole new path.

Leah Beach was in art school when she took on a vulnerable project: photographing her great grandmother who had dementia. As she captured the tragic reality of her great-grandmother’s experience, she realized that these photographs had the potential to touch more people.

“I saw the power that those photographs had and became really interested in how people lived with [dementia] in developing countries,” Beach said. 

So, after searching through the depths of Google, Beach made a plan. She signed up to volunteer with a service organization in Kenya. She bought her plane ticket.

And then, of course, things didn’t go exactly as planned.

Leah Beach is the founder and executive director of Developing Artist Collaboration, an arts organization based in West Rehoboth.

The service organization she was ready to join in Kenya had just informed her that they were shutting down their base due to lack of volunteer interest. But they still needed to support the people in need: Did she have any skills that could help them?

From graphic design to photography to mural work, Beach discovered that she could use her art skills to help uplift others. She established mentoring programs to combat malnutrition and worked in the health clinic to photograph and ship products that the women made there.

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