Ebenezer offers entertainment and life fulfilling activities through our Life Long Learning programs throughout all of our sites. Each community hosts individual events ranging anywhere from Horticultural therapy to creative writing classes. Through our Arts program we offer an array of options such as Music therapy, pottery, painting and other selections. One of our communities-Arbors Campus in Burnsville- provides an enriching program called Art With Heart. However, this is no ordinary arts and crafts project. In a recent interview with Arbors Life Long Learning Director, Ann Schrempp, states “Art With Heart provides our community members with an opportunity to learn, grow, explore, play and create. Our residents and clients come to us for help to make their lives more healthy and meaningful and this creative programming opens a door for those that participate in it. Art with Heart has been described as a ‘gathering of our imaginations, inner child and creativity of our individual souls.’ It is the cornerstone of Life Long Learning at Ebenezer Ridges Campus.”
The program is led by two teaching artists Sue Roufus and Debbie Lyon. Roufus brought the idea to the Life Long Learning program 15 years ago, while Lyon has been involved since late 2009. These two initially hosted the program only twice a month for the whole campus, but popularity grew. The two now provide eight classes a month: twice, each at Adult Day Center, Care Center, Memory Care Canter and Assisted Living. The program is funded through the Ebenezer Foundations and a huge contribution for Arbors Auxiliary and coffee shop. The dynamic duo have both been doing art for as long as they can remember, finding how strong their passion truly is through this program. They teach in different mediums such as watercolors, pastels, and acrylics. Participants are able to follow the instructions given but also have the individual freedom to create what they desire to. The art projects have ranged from Musical themed collages to exuberant peacocks and tulips. The participant’s art can be found hanging throughout the walls of the campus, on cards and even at the Apple Valley City Center.
The pieces of art, though sometimes individually made, are a collaboration of the community. This program provides an inviting environment where residents and clients can come, listen to music, and learn new techniques or draw out their past artistic abilities. When talking with one of the teachers Debbie Lyon, she shared a story about a resident who used to be an artist but was no longer able to use her dominate right hand. This was frustrating for the resident but with practice was able to use her left hand. With adaption they were able to re-discover the joy in art. Some residents’ need a reminder with a shadowing hand, but once their muscles remember the movement, the ability returns. Children of residents see their parents work, not knowing they were ever artistic! For many of the participants this program is therapeutic, offering opportunity to- rest their/distract from their/divert from worries or pain they may be experiencing.
Many Ebenezer owned and managed communities within the Twin Cities and greater Minnesota, provide programs and opportunities similar to Art With Heart. Families and residents are always pleased with the results that these programs show whether it is a re-discovered talent or re-discovered smile.