Donna Diamond, New York award winning and internationally exhibited artist, has turned her talent of artistic expression and creativity into working with seniors with dementia as well as school children with special needs. She has developed workshops in the creative process to include those groups along with students without disabilities. Embracing the premise that art is made with the head, the heart and the hand, each workshop incorporates experiences that appeal to the five senses and is designed to offer individuals the opportunity to explore and create art that is completely his/her own. Through art, participants become actively involved in the process of self-expression that is unmediated by words. They thus engage in telling the stories that only they can tell. www.theartofdonnadiamond.com
Ms. Diamond came to Detroit, March 19-21, 2013 and worked with four distinctly different groups of participants:
- Seniors residing at McGivney-Bethune Apartments (a HUD subsidized apartment complex on the campus of Marygrove College (20 participants)
- Marygrove College undergraduate art therapy students (18 participants/1 teacher)
- Emotionally impaired high school students attending Hamtramck High School (30 students/Director of Special Services Hamtramck Public Schools/Director of Arts Curriculum Hamtramck Public Schools/1 teacher)
- Art majors at Renaissance High School in Detroit (15 students/2 teachers)
A total of 89 people were engaged in the workshops. Each group was inspired by Ms. Diamond’s approach and positive feedback. Group discussion of individual’s work was encouraged and explored. The Renaissance High Schools students, who attended their workshop on the campus of Marygrove College, were also given a talkback tour, by Art Department Chair Mary Lou Greene, of the newly hung Marygrove College Student Exhibit in The Gallery.
Comments from evaluations sang out with finding the ability, freedom and creativity to express oneself without barriers and judgment, thus becoming more aware of the individual’s voice. Comments from teachers praised the creative techniques Ms. Diamond employed and related that they were enlightened, uplifted and learned a lot more about their students. Veronica Lassen, who teaches the special needs students at Hamtramck High School, commented that her students were extremely engaged and focused in the 2-hour workshop.
- It taught me that I can express myself without worrying about people judging me
- I was able to unlock my creativity and learn how to create a story with my artwork that reached farther to an audience than words could.
- I learned that creativity sparks in different ways and that people, no matter your background or skill level, can create something beautiful and deep
- A very joyful experience! I learned about creating art that belongs to only yourself… a story only you can tell.
- Donna Diamond was amazing and inspiring. She helped me feel confident about my art and way of expression.
- I learned about expressing our story through art and color. I learned many things about my peers and how they express themselves through their artwork.
- I learned how to express my voice through my artwork. Donna was very outgoing and empowering and the class helped me to not only understand art … but to understand my sense of self.
- Great presentation. Loved the interpretation of our own artwork. Phenomenal speaker.
- Abstract creativity/Art without control/Painting style/FUN!!!/Great experience/Informative
At the conclusion of the workshop at Hamtramck High School, one young man yelled out to Ms. Diamond, “You Rock!”
Enough said… art and the creative process is transforming.
Thank you to the following administrators and teachers for their support of this outreach event: Rose DeSloover, Mary Lou Greene, Michelle Pate, Denise Litterio, Veronica Lassen, Rachael Walker and Disheka Daniels