CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - An instructor is being honored for how she helps people in community through the practice of tai chi.

The Mildred W. Spicer Award recognizes people around Charlottesville who help create artistic opportunities for those with disabilities.

"The importance of the arts in our community and for everyone is to recognize the arts can help you throughout your life in a therapeutic way, in a creative fun way," Mildred W. Spicer said.

November 5, Hiromi Johnson was presented with that award during a ceremony at CitySpace.

Johnson began practicing tai chi when she was 16, after she had surgery on both of her knees.

"After the surgery, I couldn't bend or straighten my knees. And then somebody suggested tai chi was good," said the instructor.

Johnson founded the Tai Chi Center in downtown Charlottesville in 2004, and has been teaching at senior centers around the area. The instructor says her mission is to improve the lives of others.

"When you start working with each one of them, you feel something that shinning inside of them, and tai chi can bring something that shinning inside of them to the movement," Johnson said. "That gives me a great, you know, rewarding feeling. It's very hard to express, but I see every person has that shinning inside."

The Mildred W. Spicer Arts Fund started in 2013 after Mildred Spicer retired from the city as a therapeutic supervisor.