Inside the walls of the Aberdeen Hospital, Recreation Therapist Johanne Hemond offers support and encouraging guidance and direction to her art program students
“Johanne is so nice about it,” says participant Pat Rose.
“We don’t know if it’s right or not, but it comes out good anyway…” Rose adds with a smile.
This unique art therapy program offers extended care residents at Victoria’s Aberdeen Hospital a chance to create art, in various forms.
“We get to try a variety of art medium,” explains artist Meg Morrissey.
“Some I like, some I wouldn’t do again…” Morrissey admits with a laugh.
“This year,” explains Recreation Therapist Johanne Hemond, “I’ve seen a big difference in terms of…I don’t have to porter residence to the program as much…
“They come on their own, they come early, they leave later, we’ve definitely kind of created a little community…”
And, within that community, “they kinda forget about…you know…any discomfort, or pain, or, you know, disability, and they become capable and enthusiastic about their work.” adds Hemond.
“Oh it’s therapy…” explains Al McNaught, with a smile.
McNaught creates remarkably intricate drawings, yet he cannot hold a pencil, and must have a pencil holder strapped to his immobile hand.
“It’s totally different than physio…as physical therapy goes, I have to do things i don’t normally…”
“We celebrate what we’ve been creating from September to March” explains Hemond.
“It’s part of ‘Embrace Aging’ month, so it’s called ‘Embrace Aging Through The Arts and Community.”
The artists were invited to the grand opening in March.
“Very often when we’re here, it looks very ordinary” says Morrissey.
“But once it’s framed and hung, it’s quite good actually…well, at least, it looks reasonably acceptable…” she adds, smiling.
McNaught agrees. It’s “quite remarkable to see the entirety of it…one piece is ok…but 100 pieces hanging, that’s remarkable!
“It’s a case of the whole being much greater than the parts!”
This third annual Embrace Aging through the Arts and Community Exhibition is on display at the Cedar Hill Recreation Centre until April 13.