Blue Ash, Ohio – Art heals.
That’s one reason the Fitton Center recently renewed its partnership with InRETURN, the Blue Ash non-profit dedicated to helping people with traumatic brain injuries and neurological disorders.
While much of that work involves teaching job skills and finding associates manufacturing positions in the program, InRETURN also offers its 18 associates life skills. As of June 5, those skills once again include a weekly art class on Monday afternoons.
“Art was one of their most requested classes, so they reached out to us as a source for good, quality art instruction,” said Fitton Center Director of Education and Outreach Kate Rowekamp. “We’re always happy to step in and be that source of art and inspiration for people.”
“It was something that our associates were really missing,” said InRETURN Executive Director Kelsey Schaible. “It’s incredibly important. A lot of our associates weren’t getting the kind of creative escapes they needed to go with the job skills.”
Enter Miami University rising senior Kaziah Horsley.
Horsley – a Finneytown High School graduate and life-long artist - has a double major in independent studies and art therapy. She plans to pursue a master’s degree in counseling and art therapy after graduation next spring.
“I am looking forward to seeing how their creativity grows and getting to know them better,” she said. “My job right now is to aid their creativity as much as possible, to be there and advocate for them. I just want them to have fun and look at art as a way to unwind.”
So far, so good.
“It was neat to see the different ways people were doing their art,” Schaible said. “It wasn’t like a paint-and-sip situation where everybody is trying to do the same thing. It was a really cool thing to see. I had multiple associates come over and show me their art. They were very proud and that’s incredibly gratifying.”
“Our first class, I fell in love with them,” she said. “We painted and drew and created the whole entire time. We listened to music and just had an amazing time. It was a beautiful experience. I think with art, what we all have in common is creativity. Art provides the means to connect to that creativity and express yourself in ways that words can’t.”
Rowekamp scheduled the class for eight weeks, but hopes it can continue beyond that timeframe.
The Fitton Center for Creative Arts is located at 101 S. Monument Avenue on the Riverfront in downtown Hamilton, Ohio.
Building Community Excellence through the Arts and Culture