Painting is often considered noteworthy therapy, and horses and horseback riding is considered in the same vein, so a combination of creating equine-themed art is an excellent combination of the two.
Sedalia artist Stefanie Aziere-Sattler, in conjunction with Brandy and David Von Holten, hosted a free acrylic painting class for clients of Center for Human Services Tuesday evening, where 14 adults with disabilities relaxed and expressed themselves on canvass.
The event hosted at the Von Holten Ranch, near Mora, allowed students two hours to paint their interpretation of a horse. They were treated to snacks and soda, received a gift bag and ultimately were able to take their painting home.
Aziere-Sattler gives sip and paint art classes for adults once a month at the ranch. The concept of teaching special needs adults was an idea both she and the ranch owners came up with together.
“Being I’m a horse person, Brandy bought some of my work, and I came out to tour the ranch,” Aziere-Sattler said. “I love to ride so I wanted to see what this was all about.”
Clients from CHS come to the ranch once a week to help out, and the Von Holtens decided they should be offered an art opportunity. They asked Aziere-Sattler if she could teach the class. She agreed.
“Some of the people from Center for Human Services started working out here, and really loved it,” Aziere-Sattler said. “One of them had voiced that he wanted to take a class.”
She added that years ago she used to teach horse riding therapy at CHS.
“I think it’s great,” she noted.
Aziere-Sattler donated her time and Brandy Von Holten put out a call on Facebook for friends to make donations for the event.
“I had four or five women that donated money to pay for the supplies,” Brandy said. “It was all horse women that donated money for snacks and all the supplies. I’m so excited, it feels good to do something.”
She said she received enough support to purchase refreshments for the students and create gift bags for them.
Brandy used to be a high school science teacher in Independence. She noted that her class was next door to a special needs class, so she is familiar with how art can be used as therapy.
CHS House Coordinator Laura Blaszczyk said she was excited to see clients taking an art class.
“It gives them an expression for something else to do,” she said. “They don’t have very many opportunities to do something like this. It might be hard for some of them, but I think it’s a good challenge.”
She agreed that art is excellent therapy and the class should be a good experience for the clients.
CHS client Celecia Hutton said she “liked” art.
“I like to paint,” she added. “I do like horses.”
She added that she thought horses were peaceful and beautiful and that she used to paint them while in school.
Keishaun Jones agreed as he placed a brush full of paint onto his canvas.
“I like to ride them,” he added.
The Von Holtens hope to host the class for CHS clients again soon.
“My intention is I want to give back to something that’s local,” Brandy noted. “This is our first big big thing to give back locally. It strikes a cord with me because I used to be in education, and it’s like what happens to these people when they get older? When I was a high school teacher there was all sorts of activities and events, but what happens when they are no longer in high school?
“I want to make sure that we do our part and set an example for using special needs adults,” she added. “I think it gives them a lot of pride and I makes me happy to do my part. They do a wonderful job.”
Faith Bemiss can be reached at 530-0289 or @flbemiss.