When the Healing HeARTS program began at Edgemoor Skilled Nursing Facility, Larry wanted nothing to do with the collaborative oil painting sessions. Week after week, Larry would disrupt the painting lessons by running back and forth from the television at one end of the room to the classes at the other end. After a few weeks, however, Larry had a breakthrough. During the commercial break of his favorite show, he decided to pick up a paint brush for the first time. The other students, who had previously seemed annoyed by Larry, stepped aside to allow him to cut in. In time, Larry spent less time watching television and more time engaged in painting and conversations with his peers.
Larry was one of many patients at Edgemoor who grew tremendously from participation in the arts.
"I see severely impaired patients who previously lacked social skills not only working together, but encouraging and helping each other,” says Dr. Rebecca Ferrini, Medical Director at Edgemoor Hospital. “I see people holding a paintbrush, following direction, smiling. Patients who have been in the secure or locked unit for months or years without response have awakened and are able to transfer to open units. I credit the art program as a part of these transformations."
Edgemoor is a County run 192-bed distinct part skilled nursing facility for patients with wide ranging physical and psychiatric problems and dementia due to multiple etiologies: AIDS, head injury, Alzheimer’s, substance abuse and Huntington’s Disease. The facility’s Healing HeARTS program, developed by artist and educator Linda Bounds, is a unique fine art program that has had astonishing therapeutic results. The program encourages large groups of previously antisocial individuals to interact socially and create beautiful works of art together in a collaborative effort. Program results include many stories, like Larry’s, of “awakenings” where nonverbal patients become verbal, withdrawn patients socialize, those with no memories can now remember when painting lessons are happening, those who were disliked by peers are integrated into the community, and those who took interest in nothing are now finding enjoyment.
Even more than their direct impact on patients, the Healing HeARTS program benefits reach far beyond the walls of Edgemoor.
On the afternoon of July 14, community members joined together to
celebrate the gift of the arts. The San Diego County Employees
Retirement Association (SDCERA) honored Edgemoor resident artists with
musical entertainment (courtesy of local musician Rick Ross) and a
thank you certificate signed by 80 employees. They also presented a
framed photo of the three beautiful paintings donated by Edgemoor
residents that now hang on the walls of the SDCERA reception
The gift illustrates the contributory circle of service and giving that is present within San Diego County operations. The partnership between SDCERA and Edgemoor’s artists will quite literally be on display at SDCERA and will brighten the days of thousands of SDCERA visitors.
To learn more about Healing HeARTS at Edgemoor and how you can
support the program, visit their website.
Lakeside in France - An Original Oil on Canvas inspired by Claude
Monet and created by more than two dozen Edgemoor residents
participating in the Healing HeARTS Fine Art program
Seaside Cliff - An original oil on canvas inspired by Claude Monet
and created in a collaborative effort by more than a dozen Edgemoor
Sunflowers - An original oil on canvas inspired by Claude Monet and created in a collaborative effort by more than thirty residents/patients