Art Comes from the Heart

POSTED BY: Kelly Choate
Tuesday, December 6, 2011 - 06:47 PM
FULL STORY: Art Comes from the Heart

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"I like getting out of the house, and I like painting and drawing a lot," said Trisha Houston.

The Heart of Art Studio is an art program for people who attend Muskingum Starlight Industries, a sheltered workshop for adults with developmental disabilities.  Staff member Diana Geidenberger said it's a place where both the art process and art product are valued.

"Positive self-esteem is a big thing," said Geidenberger.  "Some folks here may not have been told how great they are at something until now."

Geidenberger is quite the role model for these artists, and she sees the progress they make each day.

"She's taught me to paint easels, she's taught me to paint fish, she's taught me to paint chairs," said Susan Cornell.

The art studio is the one space at the workshop where everyone feels completely comfortable, and social interaction builds confidence.

"They're not just thinking about their own art," said Geidenberger.  "They notice and see other people's art.  They compliment each other."

"I like working with everyone because they're nice to me, and I'm nice to them," said Mark Bellew.

Starlight participates in the First Friday Art Walks in downtown Zanesville, and some of these artists actually turn a profit on their artwork.

"One man that came down said he was just up at the bridge at all of the other galleries, and when he came here, he said he couldn't tell the difference because it all looks like great art," said Geidenberger.

"I was the featured artist, and my family was impressed with me," said Bellew.

All of the artists continue to surprise their teachers, and for Geidenberger, no other job could be more rewarding.

"My friends are jealous because I go home happy and talk about the great day we had in art," said Geidenberger.

She has even inspired one of her students to pursue a career in art.

"I want to become an art teacher," said Houston.

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