First and foremost, we focus on the art process, not the art product, and no previous art experience is required...participation in Creativity Labs is open to everyone: care-partners, family and friends of People with Parkinson’s(PWP). That is not to say the idea of incredible finished pieces of art is lost upon us and overlooked. With intention, we utilize quality fine art materials… high pigment paints and pastels, acid-free paper etc. This results in near foolproof works, vibrant and intense, popping off the paper. (That was the short version… read on for the LONG version ; )
A Creativity Lab is not unlike many facilitated art classes, yet there are some elements that are key in The Unsteady Hand’s presentation… One of the most important elements of a Lab, in our mind, is that the individuals are to attend to “making” and nothing else. That said, when our participants arrive, the space is set up and ready to go. Art supplies and other needed materials are organized and within arm’s-reach of all participants when they sit down. The project for the day is introduced with a hands-on demonstration by the artist/facilitator. The demonstration is typically accompanied by an encouraging slideshow presentation of related artwork by both well-known and Unsteady Hand artists. Once the basic instructions are given, the wonder begins as the artists immerse themselves in the activity allowing their intuition and playfulness to be their guides. Philosophically, as a collective, we talk about “Embracing Your Tremor” and “Freeing your tremor, freeing your mind.” As the artists create, our volunteer staff (which, more often than not, includes at least one board member) is busy changing water dishes, bringing blank paper and otherwise floating about the two-hour event so that our PWP can focus and engage fully in the art-making process. Our stellar staff provides each artist with whatever level of help they need to be successful… whether that is hand over hand assistance or just encouragement of the imaginative spirit. An element that we find incredibly encouraging is that is the Creativity Lab progresses, participants begin to veer ‘off track’ for the original ‘direction’ and begin experimenting and investigating with the materials in new and novel ways that were never “introduced” … i.e. one starts abstract blow painting and ends up painting a watercolor portrait of their neighbor. One of the most incredible things about the Labs, there is almost zero conversation regarding Parkinson’s (save the all too common jokes making light of our not so wonderful ailment). Artists document each piece with their name, title, date, and location. Clean up is typically a collaborative and fun process with all involved.