Janesville participants get artsy at Studio 84
Paint catapulting across a table onto a tri fold display board might not be normal for all studios, but at Studio 84 in Whitewater, WI, it's quite normal.
During a 12 week program, eight Janesville Day Services participants went to Studio 84 once a week, and each week's curriculum built on the previous week. The art studio specializes in special techniques for people with disabilities to be able to express their artistic creativity.
"We have seen people become more independent [through the program]," Deborah Blackwell, Executive Director of Studio 84 said. "And [we have seen a] reduction in behaviors. They become more confident in their abilities. Being able to gain the ability to make their own choices is very empowering."
Participants were able to use paint, clay, markers, stencils, as well as other tools to create works of art through their own creative choices.
Since the participants have been going to classes, Blackwell has seen each of their progress. She says several participants are more open with their communication, independently gathering their own materials and cleaning up.
"We've seen their smiles grow, their observational skills increase," Blackwell said. "Many have been slowly revealing the talents they have had hidden since the first day they arrived. It's all there in them, they just need that opportunity to express themselves and do things for themselves."
This 12 week program was made possible through a community engagement grant. The purpose of the grant is to provide opportunities for our participants to go to events, services and classes in the community that would otherwise not be possible.
How has Deborah seen each participant grow through their time at Studio 84?
Marilyn took a lot of pride in her work and she progressed to being able to make color selections and her observation skills in transferring images from a photo graph to a painting improved considerably.
Hannah after a couple of times really shined as she developed her observational skills in transferring and image from the photo graph to the canvas.
Anne began to hang on to the brush for much longer periods of time and begin making her own selection of which paint cup to get paint out of. Early on she would often drop the brush and needed a nudge of the elbow to continue painting as she would often stop doing anything. She made her own selection of which photograph to paint from.
Brooke also tried a variety of materials and found she loved the clay in various ways. She made a self portrait out of clay.
Tyler became much more independent with getting started quicker and set up. His listening skills improved too with taking direction in how to paint a picture.
John was making progress by using paint. At first he would mix all the colors and then began to do separate areas on the paining to create a landscape. He also became more independent with getting the things he needed to work. He was only here for a short time so a lot of progress was made during that short time.
Carol was so willing to try new things despite her disability to see which one she liked and which one worked best for her and how we could help her to succeed with any adaptation.
April improved with her listening and communication with her artistic mentor. Her fine motor skills improved through needing to select which color to use and was more responsive to making those decisions on her own.