Free Art Classes for Patients, Caregivers Opening in Arkansas

Art therapy for Parkinson's supported by family living with disease

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by Andrea Lobo |

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Free art therapy workshops for Parkinson’s disease patients and their caregivers will take place this fall in Little Rock and Hot Springs, Arkansas, offered by the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) Movement Disorders Clinic.

The Art for Parkinson’s classes are scheduled in Little Rock at St. Michael’s Episcopal Church, 12415 Cantrell Road, on Oct. 11, Nov. 15 and Dec. 13. In Hot Springs, a class will take place at First Baptist Center Fitness, 2350 Central Ave., on Oct. 13, the UAMS clinic announced in a university press release.

No experience is necessary, and materials for different art mediums will be provided.

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Art therapy thought to help Parkinson’s patients with motor skills, tremor

Previous research indicates drawing or painting, in making the small strokes required, can help patients improve fine motor skills, and the release notes patients have reported being able to better control tremors due to the disorder’s motor symptoms.

Engaging in leisure activities also helps patients and their caregivers in staying active physically and mentally.

Participants can choose to take their finished artwork home or offer it for inclusion in a show of work from these fall sessions.

Each art therapy class takes place between 9:30 a.m. and noon on scheduled days, and is available online for those who cannot participate in person. All are advised to wear comfortable clothes they wouldn’t mind getting dirty and may attend as many sessions as they wish.

Participation is free, but those interested must register in advance. To register, contact Suzanne Dhall by email at [email protected] or by calling or texting 602-635-0739.

These art classes were first offered in the spring in partnership with Arts Integration Services of Little Rock, and they are returning due to popular interest. Sessions again will be led by painter Elly Bates, guiding participants in experimenting with different art mediums and suggested themes.

They are supported by the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Movement Disorders Clinic through a donation to the UAMS Parkinson’s Disease Fund from Barbara and David Hogg of El Dorado. Barbara Hogg was diagnosed with Parkinson’s while working toward a master’s degree at the UAMS College of Nursing. She completed her bachelor’s degree there in 1995 but was not able to finish her master’s, and she has been extensively treated at UAMS.

The Hoggs specified that part of this donation be reserved for art education.