ArtThread Blog: Connect, Create, Thrive!We believe art and creative expression are critical for the emotional, intellectual and spiritual health of the whole individual and the entire community.
These moments are so special for us. It is wonderful to see someone’s face light up because they now have a piece of technology that most of us take for granted. Our latest recipient of a laptop is Margaret Shaddox, a patient at UF Health/Shands Hospital in Gainesville, Florida. (Follow this link if you would like to make a contribution to help us continue this project!)
Margaret faces a long road to recovery from a serious operation, and with the help of Discharge Facilitator Kathleen David, we were able to learn about Margaret’s challenge. Kathleen mentioned that Margaret was far from home, and she would be in the hospital for a long while.
“My family is in Panama City – a long way away – and we did not have a good way to stay in touch while I’m here in Gainesville,” said Margaret. “I had to come here for this operation, and my daughter wanted to Skype with me.”
Margaret will be able to do more than Skype with her brand new Dell touch-screen laptop. She can play games, watch movies, and of course get creative online with ArtThread’s art-making tools and the interactive gallery. We discovered that she was not very familiar with computers, and that’s where Clinical Leader Marsha Crane stepped in to help.
“I have volunteers who come in regularly, and we’ll make sure they create Margaret’s new Facebook and Skype accounts,” said Marsha. “We’ll take good care of her!”
We were so pleased to see this level of support, and to see Margaret’s eyes light up when she discovered she could play Solitaire. “I love it!” she exclaimed.
The ArtThread team understands the importance of maintaining a thread of connection back to all that is familiar during the physical and psychological stress of diagnosis, treatment and recovery. Our communication in life and the way we share and present our journey is all part of our creative process.
Many families don’t have an extra portable computer to take to the hospital, and the financial burdens of illness and travel often prohibit the purchase of an additional one.
Our spirits, particularly during intense times in our lives, thrive on the support of our family and friends. Patients need a way to connect themselves to their tribe—a connection that engenders smiles, belonging, and hope—all absolute necessities for optimum healing.
This is why we delegate some of our resources to give away free laptops. Please lend a hand by making a contribution!
We love bringing new organizations into the ArtThread family, and we had a wonderful day of training with the folks at Schott Communities. They are using their customized ArtThread Gallery as part of their already strong art program, adding an online component that allows sharing all over their Broward county (FL) community.
This non-profit organization was founded in 1986 to address the needs of persons who are deaf or who are physically or intellectually challenged. Unique to Florida, Schott Communities develops residential housing for the deaf or disabled; designs programs to assist clients develop skills for independent living; offers clients counseling services and educational programs to promote self-sufficiency, and provides clients with social, recreational and spiritual opportunities to enhance their quality and enjoyment of life.
This pARTnership with ArtThread features a gallery that is part of Schott’s Art Therapy program where individuals of all ages and abilities explore their own creative response to the challenges of living with a disability. They paint with hands, feet, mouth or headgear – whatever means is available to them. This program now offers the opportunity to unleash everyone’s imagination and discover the world of computer art and graphic design.
One of the joys we get in working with our pARTners is witnessing and helping them reach important milestones. The Early Learning Institute (ELI) of Sonoma County celebrated their Quinceañera Anniversay on Saturday May 3, and the ArtThread team was there in full force.
Over 250 people attended this gala event, and ArtThread provided ArtStations where attendees got a taste of how ELI uses their interactive gallery to work with young children who have learning disabilities. The light bulb went off for everyone who got their hands on the touch screens and started to draw: using Splash is fun and brings instant success!
“We are so proud to be helping ELI do the work of improving family dynamics and enhancing learning for these young children,” said Jay Klein, ArtThread CEO, “and this joint program is an example of how support from our donors allows us to help other organizations delivery important services to people in need.”
Everyone in attendance had a story to tell about how important ELI had been to their family or their friends, and the ELI staff did a wonderful job of organizing the party, which was modeled after the traditional quinceañera celebration — the celebration of a girl’s fifteenth birthday in parts of Latin America.
This ELI pARTnership enhances their Tech n’ Tots program, a technology and creativity-focused support program designed to expand and enhance children’s access to play, communication and ultimately their social connections through the use of high tech devices, including iPads, smartphones, and computers. The goal of this data-driven project is to use art and creative expression to offer a means of positive self expression and interactivity for parents and children.
“It is critically important to help them believe in the self-agency of their child and to support them in viewing their child as someone who will make his or her mark on the world,” said Michelle Rogers, Executive Director of ELI. “ArtThread is a concrete way to highlight how creative and expressive any child can be when given the right tools.”
The dedicated staff at ELI is using ArtThread tools with 600 young children and their families, and together they have created hundreds of pieces of art that reflect this shared experience and demonstrate the growth of both the program and the creative process for the kids.
This pARTnership program is ongoing, and we will be gathering data on how the creative process impacts the family dynamic and the learning process for these young children. We’ll keep you posted!
Using Splash on IOS devices has been the number one request from our pARTners, and we’re pleased to share the good news – you can now do it!
We discovered a browser that bypasses the no-Flash policy of Apple’s iPads and iPhones, as well as certain Android devices. This browser is called Photon, and it is available in the Apple App Store. Once you install this app, you will be able to use Splash on your iPad! read more…
“Children see magic because they look for it.” –Christopher Moore
Looking for and finding magic is what our new pARTnership with the Early Learning Institute (ELI) of Sonoma County is all about. ArtThread is helping ELI add new technology and training to their Tech n’ Tots program, a technology focused support program designed to expand and enhance a child’s access to play, communication and ultimately his/her social connections through the use of high tech (iPads, smartphones, computers, etc.) and low tech (pictures, icons, texture and touch cues, etc.) resources. read more…
It’s all about creativity – that’s our focus at ArtThread. But it’s not easy to maintain that spirit on an organizational level – to permeate it into the day-to-day workings of a group. Sometimes the best we can do is encourage and enable individuals to tap into that part of their spirit. read more…
The ArtThread Foundation is launching their Colors of Care program at Superior Residences in Ft. Myers, Florida. Colors of Care is ArtThread’s innovative, experiential arts program that combines online technology, hands-on art-making, dedicated creativity mentors, and comprehensive training into a unified approach that improves quality of life for residents in assisted living and memory care facilities, and their families. read more…
ARTWorks Exhibit at Frost Museum features ArtThread art made by students in Miami-Dade art therapy program
Last week Jay and I had the great privilege of attending the gallery opening of the Miami-Dade County Public Schools Clinical Art Therapy Department’s “ARTWorks” exhibit, at the Frost Museum. We were stunned by the fantastic work being done as part of this art therapy program – both the wonderful creativity of the students, and the stellar programming and support provided by the staff of art therapists. read more…
We are always amazed at the innovative ways our partners find to use ArtThread’s art making tools. VSA Florida artist and National Dance Week delegate Anna Preston was the driving force behind the collaborative and mixed media event calledA Dance For Everyone. read more…