News alert! Tune in to this week’s Wellness Wednesday episode of WOSU’s All Sides with Ann Fisher, which will feature Art on the Brain facilitator and founder Tracie McCambridge from the Wexner Center. The conversation will air live at 11:20 am EST (online or at 89.7 FM) on Wednesday, April 25, and will re-air this evening at 9:20 pm.
Meanwhile, we talked recently with Eric and Debbie Freece, who have participated in four sessions of Art on the Brain. After Eric, a former schoolteacher, suffered a stroke five years ago, his wife Debbie (a retired nurse) sought out community programs, including Art on the Brain, to help them both navigate the healing process. Eric says Art on the Brain “opened up pathways in my brain that had long been closed because of the stroke....The artwork was so stimulating.” Debbie notes that the activities “are not only intellectually stimulating, but also physical....[The program] incorporates collage, painting, and drawing as part of a whole-body experience.” In accompanying Eric to Art on the Brain, Debbie has met other caregivers, while also finding her own creative inspiration, adding bright colors to the quilts she makes: “Coming here and seeing the art…It’s opened a new world.”
Over the years, Eric has begun to regain some memory, especially when it comes to recognizing his fellow participants: “I may not remember the particulars of the situation I saw them in, but I know I’ve seen them.” He has continued to draw on his time as an elementary schoolteacher in journaling and writing about his experience. As part of Art on the Brain, Eric wrote a poem inspired by the Wex exhibition Leap Before You Look (focused on Black Mountain College), which he has generously shared with us (see below).
Debbie said that as “avid OSU alumni, we are just so proud that our University has this program and has taken a step in this direction.”
We thank Eric and Debbie again for sharing their thoughts and reflections on Art on the Brain. Thanks also to all the donors who have enabled us to reach and surpass our initial goals, and who are helping now as we strive for our new stretch goal of $8,000. We deeply appreciate your support!
Top: Art on the Brain participants Debbie & Eric Freece
Middle: Eric’s poem inspired by the Wex’s Leap Before You Look exhibition on Black Mountain College
Bottom left: Debbie’s quilting before (top) and after (bottom) participating in Art on the Brain
Bottom right: Some drawings from their Art on the Brain journals (including “blind drawings,” where participants sketch pieces on view in the galleries without looking at their papers).