Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Gem of a Farewell....

I always like it when the kids I work with graduate from our program. However, some leave gems behind with their words of wisdom and their compliments, which we don't often hear from our clients. Below are the parting words from a graduating client, along with the individual brownie made for me (with my initials)...I hope this encourages the work of you other art therapists out there!

"Mrs. Mucklow. You are such an amazing art therapist. You're so funny and kind. I've learned to love art again. And I thank you. When I was little, I was always interested in art, but soon after my depression hit, I lost interest. I thought I would never be able to find pleasure in art again. But who would've thought coming here would help? I sure didn't. You definitely boosted my self-confidence toward my art. I can't thank you enough. I hope to visit you in the near future. Take care of yourself!"

Art aids WTB Soldiers

Art aids WTB Soldiers
Charmain Z. Brackett
Special to the Signal

The entryway of the Warrior Transition Battalion Building 329 has become an art gallery.

It all started with one idea.

Daryl Walker, who works in with the WTB, noticed one of the WTB Soldiers, Spc. Jose Hernandez bring in a model of a motorcycle for one of the noncommissioned officers who was leaving. He mentioned to Hernandez he would like one.

Hernandez made him one, and when Walker started to take it home, he had second thoughts.

“If I put it here, all the other Soldiers could enjoy it so I’ll go ahead and display it,” he said.

That was only about a month ago. Since then, other Soldiers have brought in paintings and other types of art work, which has transformed the building’s lobby. Now, Walker is looking for other Soldiers with artistic talent and more places to display their work.

Hernandez has spent 19 months with the WTB, and during that time, he turned to art to help him on his road to recovery.

“I didn’t paint since the sixth grade,” he said. “ I thought that skill was gone.”

He often gives his paintings to other Soldiers. One of his paintings hanging in Building 329 is of a Soldier kneeling in honor of a fallen comrade; another shows a warrior in transition from the battlefield to a future in college.

The art has provided a form of therapy, he said.

“It helps me to be relaxed and comfortable,” he said. “My condition has gotten better, and it’s kept me busy.”

Another Soldier who paints for therapy is Staff Sgt. Sonia Coleman. Her artwork is on the other end of the spectrum from Hernandez; she does abstract paintings.

“It allows you to go and experience your emotions on canvas,” she said. “You can release your frustration and depression. My paintings are different depending on the emotion.”

Walker said he not only wants WTB Soldiers’ artwork displayed around post and in the community, but Soldiers from other units as well.

Not only can art be therapeutic for those creating, but it can help those who see it as well. Walker wants to highlight the benefits of it.

“I think it’s a good thing,” he said.

To learn more about the art project, contact Walker or occupational therapist, Sterlyn Frazier, at or