Blue Ash (Ohio) – The teacher never stopped learning. Or creating.
Anisha Sanghani - born in India - worked as a textile artist in Mumbai before moving to the United States in 1995. She studied graphic design and visual communications at Atlanta’s Piedmont College and spent a quarter century in product design and packaging for corporations like Whole Foods and Candle-Lite where she designed for Walmart, Meijer, Target, Pier 1 Imports, Martha Stewart and more.
She added a BFA from the University of Cincinnati’s renowned College of Design Art, Architecture and Planning in 2022.
So when Sanghani steps into an art classroom at the Blue Ash non-profit InReturn or Best Point Behavioral Health Center in Hamilton – longtime partners with the Fitton Center’s outreach and education programs - she brings a lifetime of experiences mixed with both eastern and western worldviews to her students’ weekly lessons.
“The more I teach, the more I learn,” she said. “I enjoy teaching everything I know.”
InReturn has a mission “to empower individuals who have suffered a neurological injury, disease or disorder by promoting independent living and personal success through job and life skills training.”
According to its website, art at InReturn serves a vital role in achieving the mission, helping “encourage the use of fine motor skills and concentration. It is also a creative release for all associates, especially if they experience difficulty expressing themselves verbally.”
Sanghani said the aspirational element of art is as important as the functional.
“I feel the most satisfying thing to see is to see the students believe in themselves once they realize that they can create something they never dreamed of before,” Sanghani said.
“Painting a large piece of art may seem intimidating to them so I break down the steps – let’s say drawing a tiger; triangles for ears, circles for faces – and they make the connections between the smaller pieces and then put those steps together. That’s when we see progress.
“It’s very satisfying. I’m really excited to work with them and see how they continue to grow.”
Sanghani signed on in August 2023 to teach an eight-week course at InReturn, but recently extended for a second eight-week term taking her through the end of the calendar year. She also has been teaching kids at Best Point twice a week since August and will continue there until 2024.
“I have associates telling me ‘You’re my favorite teacher,’” Sanghani said. “They want to create large canvas paintings to hang in their home. It’s exciting to see them so excited.”
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