Exercise, dancing, bicycling, music, Tai Chi Ö have been shown to be helpful to those facing the challenges of Parkinsonís disease. In Johnstown, Pennsylvania, local artists provide instruction and encouragement to participants in the Art for Healing program. A collaborative effort of the John P. Murtha Neuroscience and Pain Institute and the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art, the Art for Healing program brings together people of varying artistic talent to discover their creative selves.
Why Art? Art opens us up to infinite possibilities. It mirrors life, never ending up the way you plan it to when you start it. You make changes and adapt as you go. None of us plan to be detoured by illness or other losses, but our new paths give us the opportunity to learn how to best help others, and the grace to accept help from others. What better medium to use to encourage goal-setting, problem-solving, and adaptability?
About the painting: We met Mr. Lee in 1977, while on a trip to San Francisco. We were celebrating the completion of our Graduate work and brimming with plans and hope for our future. We watched Mr. Lee as he dipped one finger in paint and began to create the piece of art which would be hung on a wall in every house we made our home. Using only one finger, Mr. Lee took only minutes to complete his flower painting, with a cricket for luck and butterflies to remind us of the fragility of life. When I paint a flower I am reminded of the importance of hope as we navigate the twists and turns of life.
Deborah L. Marx