The Westport Arts Center is marking the first year of its therapeutic arts program with exhibitions at the Smilow Cancer Hospital in New Haven and at Homes for the Brave, a shelter for homeless military veterans in Bridgeport.

In New Haven, "Abstract Notes" is an exhibition of gouache paintings done by cancer patients in a program set up by the arts center. In Bridgeport, "Nurturing Creativity" is a show featuring photographs of art workshops the arts center conducted for veterans.

The arts center said research has shown that art has a positive impact on the physical, emotional and mental well-being of children and adults.

The center's therapeutic porgram, called WAC Gives Back, was designed to deliver healing arts experiences to underserved populations, such as cancer patients, military veterans, children with special needs, and the elderly.