Art students at two local schools have benefited from a session with American-based artist Menard Derosena.A chance meeting with his bishop brought Derosena and Pastor Charleston Petersen together, and Peterson then introduced Derosena to community worker Juven Rittles.Rittles and Petersen grew up together and both attended Beacon Hill High School.Rittles then encouraged Derosena to work with and inspire young artists at Beacon Hill High School and Cedar High School last week.This was his first time speaking to the learners. “It all started with our ministry, Bet Hashem YHWH Ministries, in 2015,” Derosena says.“We came to South Africa to celebrate our 15-year anniversary. This was my first time in South Africa but that was in Johannesburg. I fell in love with it and have been coming here every year since.”Petersen says he met Derosena’s bishop, Timothy Parnell, when he was down and out in life, and having the opportunity to meet Derosena and link him up with Rittles was divine intervention.He praises Rittles for the “amazing work he is doing to uplift the community”.“I met with Charleston and said we should look at doing something and Juven pitched the idea of honouring leaders – people in the community who have been serving the people,” says Derosena.Rittles adds that when Derosena returns, he hopes to bring this initiative closer to home with portraits of local community leaders. The first part of this was to visit the schools where Derosena encouraged the learners to become the best at their art forms, saying they will be able to change the world if they continue doing what they love doing.“Me coming here is both spiritual and about learning and everything else. I love it,” he says.“At the school I had the opportunity to speak to a classroom interested in art and I was able to speak to them about art but also the reason for art. Art is a way of expressing yourself and your every thought and feeling and art is at its best when you do it with all your heart and you love it.” V Read Menard Derosena’s story on page 8.