As a professional, independent art instructor for 15 years in the Lehigh Valley area, I have seen first hand the benefits of the pursuit of painting and other art activities. I have worked with many older adults who discover relaxation and respite from their busy lives through the creation of a work of art that they can cherish and/or share with their loved ones. Some even go on to reap financial reward by selling their artwork.
So often I hear phrases such as “I have always wanted to do this, but never had the time” or “I forget about my troubles when I am in art class.” After one course, many students realize the inherent
long-term benefits of participation in this rather inexpensive hobby.
In my work with physically and intellectually challenged individuals, I have found that they, too, enjoy phenomenal benefits from engaging in art as a hobby. The time they spend creating a work of art offers respite from the daily challenges that they face with their respective conditions.
Other benefits of artistic expression include:
My students often say that their art classes are inexpensive and fun therapy! By participating in a class, they enjoy a wonderful sense of camaraderie, as well as share both the triumphs and the gaffes of their painting efforts. As their teacher, I particularly enjoy problem solving with them when they reach a difficult patch in their painting efforts. I get to show them various ways they can resolve an artistic challenge, whether it involves composition, color mixing or a special technique.
I encourage individuals to give artwork a try, either through a class or on their own. You never know – there just might be an artist within you! I am currently teaching a therapeutic art class at Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network in Allentown for people with disabilities through the MS Wellness Program . Art tools and the work space can be adapted to meet specific needs. Learn more here .