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Vancrest’s Art Therapy promotes sensory and fine motor skills PDF Print
Friday, July 04, 2014 8:00 PM


DHI Media Staff Writer

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DELPHOS — The reception for the First Annual Vancrest Art Exhibition took place on Thursday afternoon with residents, family members and staff members spending quality time together delighting in the art pieces each have crafted through the past four months.

Vancrest’s Activities Director Katie Gladish said the classes have been designed to give the long-term care patients guidelines for completing projects with a sample project to visualize. The therapeutic benefits of the projects focuses on fine motor and sensory skills. She said the participants work on a variety of art projects with different mediums.

“The classes promote fine motor skills like picking up and painting with a brush and the up-and-down or side-to-side strokes of painting,” she detailed. “They also stimulate sensory skills by utilizing a variety of mediums including clay and materials like lace.”

Delphos Area Art Guild (DAAG) Director Shauna Turner-Smith said according to the Art Therapy Association, art therapy is utilized in a wide array of settings to promote well being, socialization, communication and healing; ease stress, pain and loss; improve cognitive and motor skills; and empower through end-of-life and transition concerns.

“DAAG is always proud to help support any community endeavor and Vancrest is a local nursing care facility that is especially close to our hearts,” she said.

Gladish said the residents have been really excited about their family members coming to the facility to see their art. They really enjoy and love working with Anna Fisher, who is a local mixed media artist.


“Sometimes the resident compares their project to the sample project and feels as if they have not done a great job,” Gladish explained. “Anna is always there with positive reinforcement for them.”


Fisher infuses her enthusiasm while teaching the residents how to work with the mediums. She said watercolor is the hardest medium for anyone to work with.

“The work is handcrafted by the residents who make a beautiful piece of art from almost nothing,” she explained. “With the ceramic birdhouses, they started with a rolled out piece of clay, cut out the pieces with templates, construct them and after the clay dries, residents glaze them.”

Fisher says they give her so much back and it’s very rewarding seeing what they can produce.

“During our next few classes, we will be doing weaving and a collage depicting their lives,” she added. “It will be very interesting to see what they do.”

The residents participating in the sessions say they love working with Fisher who is very engaging and promotes fun and conversation during the classes.

Resident Lois Schlatman said it is a social gathering that activates their minds and is much better than just sitting in their rooms.

Since January, DAAG has partnered with the Delphos Vancrest Healthcare Center to help assist their Activities in Art to reach a higher level. The classes take place every other month throughout the year.

Turner-Smith said art can be intimidating for some people and she believes the exhibition has inspired residents who have not participated in the classes to try and create a piece of art.

“They see the art the other residents have created and now they think ‘Maybe I can do that too’,” she explained.


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