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New exhibit by Open Arms Care’s Flying Brushes artists

herb rieth
Art work by an Open Arms Care's Flying Brushes artist.
Art therapy is often the only way out of a marginalized life in which barriers of intellectual and physical disabilities are compounded by institutional and social stigma; a stigma that further confines already hampered personalities, making them seem beyond connection, almost infantile, vegetative, lost.

Inside a limited set of mind/body connections are unlimited possibilities. Harold is an example of one individual benefiting from Open Arms Care’s art program, Flying Brushes. Harold is unable to speak, unable to walk, unable to use his hands/arms. He communicates with his eyes. He is able to answer “yes” or “no” by looking up for “yes” and down for “no”. Utilizing a laser pointer headband, he is able to point the tiny red light to select colors from a chart, and the staff assisting him, the tracker, will confirm that the shade and consistency is exactly as the artist desires. Paint brushes, sponges, spoons, combs, and a plethora of other utensils are spread across a table where he points to his tool of choice. Every action is detailed; every step is questioned by the tracker to ensure they are doing what he instructs with the laser.

One painting will take anywhere from two to eight hours to complete, sometimes spanning numerous days.

The new exhibit, “Unbound”, will be on display from November 10-25 at the Emporium Center, 100 S. Gay Street. Gallery hours are Monday-Friday 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM.

Published November 7, 2015

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