KALAMAZOO—Art created by four participants in day programming and services offered by the Center for Disability Services are on display in the second floor art gallery of the College of Health and Human Services at Western Michigan University. The show—featuring artists Adrian, Jimmy, Latina and Lester—will be on display through the end of April.
The Center for Disability Services is an affiliate enterprise of the college. Its mission is to provide activities on site and in the community to promote inclusion and enrich the daily lives of program participants. In art therapy classes, participants celebrate their creative abilities using adaptive measures that encourage independence and authentic expression.
Center participants—some verbal, some nonverbal—use art to communicate and make their unique mark in the world. Some individuals paint with their feet. Others, such as featured artist Jimmy, paint with their mouths.
A positive alternative
Art at the center is a positive alternative to anger or aggression and a means of coping with anxiety and sadness. For some, the rhythmic motion of painting is therapeutic. For others, the benefit comes from the physicality of molding, shaping or pounding out various materials.
Artists also gain confidence and build self-esteem by displaying and selling their art on site and at various festivals. Proceeds from sales go to recover some of the costs of materials and provide artists with spending money for outings and activities they enjoy.
The colorful, lively and vibrant works, as well as statements that will acquaint visitors with featured artists, can be viewed from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
For more information about the center, visit wmich.edu/disabilitycenter. For general information regarding art at the college, contact Gay Walker, program coordinator for the college's Holistic Health Program at (269) 387-3839 or firstname.lastname@example.org.