Thumbs Up Gallery helps patients communicate via canvas

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Spectrum Health’s Thumbs Up Gallery is a creative sanctuary for all of its artists.

“Painting is easy,” said Steve Howell, a resident of Spectrum’s Neuro Residential Care. “Anything goes — mountains and motorcycles and houses.”

Each of Howell’s brushstrokes takes on extra purpose. Just like the other painters at the Thumbs Up Gallery, Howell has a brain injury. All of them are challenged with speech and use their canvas to communicate.

Nurse Ranae Couture created the gallery. She founded Spectrum’s Expressive Arts Program in 2008 to help patients just like Howell.

“It helps with fine motor skills and visual perception, concentration and focus and endurance,” said Couture. “They just feel more independent, and it gains motivation and confidence.”

Couture said the benefits of painting are endless, but the best therapy is the joy of seeing someone buy their work, which will be available for purchase on Oct. 22. Those interested can view and buy the work at the Neuro Residential Care Thumbs Up Gallery at 4130 Kalamazoo Ave. SE and on the second floor of the Rehab and Nursing Center on Kalamazoo Avenue.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Know something newsworthy? Report It!

News 8 Links