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KRRC client art show in Waterville celebrates inclusion, International Day of People with Disabilities


Clients use adaptive technology to create works of art

WATERVILLE, NS - It was a celebration of the artistic abilities of clients and proof that everyone can produce art when environmental barriers are removed.

The Kings Regional Rehabilitation Centre (KRRC) in Waterville hosted an art show featuring the work of clients in celebration of the International Day of People with Disabilities on Dec. 3. Open to staff and clients, the focus of the show was inclusivity, both in content and the methodology used for creating the art.  The inclusive show reflected the theme of this year’s day of persons with disabilities.

The methodology used to create the pieces included using a switch adapted paint spinner, force in motion (marbles rolling in a box), traditional brush and paper using adapted paint brushes, finger painting, the spot symmetrical method and string art. The various creations were all put on display and there was a compilation of photos and videos that played during the show illustrating the methods used to create the art.

KRRC client Brenton Nauss, a great admirer of folk art, said he was very proud to have his work featured in the show. One of his tempera paint and paper works had a Remembrance Day theme, featuring poppies and crosses. Ceremonies held over Remembrance Day weekend got him thinking about all the people who died while serving their country and inspired him to create the piece.

Another painting he had on display featured the sun, birds and a hot air balloon. Nauss said “all the freedom we have and all the good things we have in life” served as the inspiration for his second piece.

“I’ve always been fascinated with art, for years, ever since I was a teenager I guess,” Nauss said. “I could draw a fairly good picture even then.”

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He said it wasn’t until he came to the rehab that people really started to recognize his flair for the artistic. His favourite medium is drawing with magic markers and he has painted a wall mural at the rehab featuring a boat on the water. He also sings in the KRRC band, The Beat.

Nauss said he was very pleased that a wide range of clients had the opportunity to participate in the inclusive show and he took the opportunity to appreciate the work of others while walking up and down the hall.

KRRC assistive technology resource consultant Stephanie Mattson and education co-ordinator Karen Hunter helped organize the show. In terms of the opportunity for self-expression, Hunter said every client got to choose the colours he or she wanted to use.

“Because our emphasis was on inclusion, it allowed people to have complete independence and choose what they wanted to represent,” she said.

Hunter said inclusion was the theme of this year’s International Day of People with Disabilities and because art is an expression of one’s self, everybody can be included. Since they have access to the adaptive technology, they were able to include people who may not be able to create art using traditional brushes, for example.

“It allowed us to be creative to help other people be creative,” Hunter said.

Mattson said it’s very important to give people the opportunity to create and, with assistive technology, that can happen today.

“When you remove those environmental barriers, people can create, no matter what their skill level, no matter what their ability,” Mattson said.

She said some of the clients were a bit hesitant at first, especially about having the work displayed, because they didn’t see themselves as artists. However, they were pleased with the results using the various methods and recognize that it’s about the beauty that comes with different colours and textures.

The methods used allowed them to demonstrate this and the clients are very proud of their artistic accomplishments. Mattson said the initiative resulted in a lovely art show.

One client who used the switch adapted paint spinner used her chin to operate the switch because that is how she felt most comfortable working the device. Mattson said that more inclusion can happen when people are thinking outside the box and assistive, adaptive technologies are used.

Kirk.starratt@kingscountynews.ca

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