Full Circle 2009 at Matheny Arts Access
I think it’s fair to say that the one thing that binds artists together across all mediums in the creative impulse. This desire can be overpowering at times. I like to think that there’s something inside all artists that says, “I have to create this now, and share it with the world.”
Now try to imagine having that impulse, that vision in your mind, but being unable to physically create it. In addition to the normal and frustrating stumbling blocks that lie in front of creativity, there's a series of perhaps greater, physical obstacles as well. The artists involved with the Arts Access Program know that feeling all too well.
Arts Access is an organization dedicated to assisting people with oftentimes-severe disabilities in the creative process. What began as small program designed to keep the clients at the Matheny Medical and Education Center physically and mentally active soon grew into something much larger. After seeing the response that many of the patients had to creating arts with the help of a small staff, Matheny Center decide to expand its artistic offerings, bringing in more personnel and adding a large visual and performing arts facility. They now offer programs in painting, digital arts, sculpture, dance, writing, drama, and music composition. If you’d like to know more about the Arts Access program, please check out their website at www.ArtsAccessProgram.org.
What really resonated with me when I spoke with Brian Pollack, the drama and creative writing facilitator, is how the program actually allows its clients to create some of the most incredible pieces of art with the help of a facilitator. The more I spoke with Brian about his experience as someone who works 1 on 1 with the clients the more I got sense of the bond formed between artist and facilitator. Each client works 1 on 1 with a member of the Arts Access staff to create their masterpiece. The facilitator’s role with each client is unique depending on the needs of the individual, but Brian explained that the usual method is to streamline everything down to a series of yes or no questions, and the client's vision is expressed through the answers to these questions with the facilitator acting as the paint brush, or scribe, or actor, the client begins to see his or her artwork take shape. The event taking place tomorrow afternoon, Full Circle Voice and Vision, is a collection of all the work created by the clients through their facilitators.
The Full Circle event is an opportunity for these artists to see their artwork displayed professionally and hear the applause of the audience as they show a side of themselves to the world that they don’t often get a chance to display. As a person with cerebral palsy, I’ve had the experience of going through treatment and many rounds of physical therapy and rehabilitation. In going through this process, I'm sure you believe me when I say that there’s not much room for creativity. Days are very strictly scheduled and most times very physically taxing. But what most hospitals and treatment centers miss is the importance of self-expression and creativity in the treatment process.
I applaud Arts Access in their efforts and am very excited to see the art works and performances on display on Saturday. I hope you’ll consider joining us for the event.