Art & Parkinson’s
March 10, 2021|
In February 2019, the Peterson Painters was established. The Peterson Painters is a creative art support group for people with Parkinson’s and their care partners. Lead by program coordinator, Gail Torrence, the Peterson Painters provides a nurturing space where participants learn about various artists, techniques and partake in monthly activities.
The Peterson Painters not only enjoy making art but enjoy sharing their pieces with the community. In April 2019 some of the group painted red tulip bookmarks in honor of Parkinson’s Awareness Month and their collaborative art projects were displayed at the Franklin Art Crawl in October 2019. “Every month I look forward to seeing everyone in this group and catching up. We are helping the brain make new connections through learning new things, and having fun doing it. I am thankful for the support from PFP and providing this opportunity to those living with Parkinson’s and their care partners.” stated Gail Torrence. In addition to watercolor paintings, the painters are dabbling with other art media such as oil pastels, transparent film, and sharpie paints.
The Painters have met in-person every month in 2021 after a long absence due to the COVID-19 pandemic. During their January class they learned about French artist, Henri Matisse, followed by Marc Chagall in February. The group is learning about artists, styles of art, and art media, but being able to meet in person provides invaluable support from all the participants. An art support group can be beneficial for those living with Parkinson’s as well as for care partners. For more information on Peterson Painters contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Art-making can be used to address specific symptoms of Parkinson’s.
- Tremor: Nearly 70% of people living with Parkinson’s experience tremors at some point during their diagnosis. These tremors can worsen with stress, by relaxing one can reduce or soothe tremors. When focusing on a process (art) and not the problem or outcome it enables the central nervous system to calm and lessen the tremor.
- Freezing: Some people with Parkinson’s experience the temporary, involuntary ability to move, called freezing. When focusing on art, the movements are more deliberate, shifting less from every day “autopilot” movements and help decrease the likelihood of freezing.
- Impaired Speech: Art making allows individuals the opportunity to express their feelings and thoughts through a creative outlet, increasing self-esteem for patients experiencing speech problems.
- Isolation and Depression: Depression is a very common symptom of Parkinson’s and the social and emotional connections one forms by sharing a safe, creative space are invaluable for combating isolation and depression.