The Best and the BrightestArt Exhibit Full of Hope and Talent
The Pure Art Collection 2012, an exhibit comprising 50 artistic masterpieces painted by mentally disabled persons, was held recently at the Nippon Foundation. The exhibit was sponsored by the Fugakukai Social Welfare Association, a nonprofit organization based in Shizuoka Prefecture. The association provides social welfare support to many mentally disabled young people and adults at numerous centers in the prefecture. Fugakukai introduced an art therapy program back in 1974 to foster the talents of the mentally disabled in Shizuoka Prefecture through music, painting, and drama. Reiko Yamauchi, the director of the organization, explains why taiko drumming was chosen for the music therapy: “Playing the taiko drum helps to focus the body and mind, and fosters a spirit of cooperation. Public performances not only give the participants a sense of accomplishment and build their confidence, but also serve as opportunities to expand the social skills of mentally disabled persons.”
The self expression nurtured playing taiko drums has led to other creative endeavors, such as painting. The skills fostered through painting, such as looking, feeling, drawing, and applying colors, all contribute to a development of greater sensitivity and the ability to concentrate. Painting also gives free reign to the pleasures of dreaming and imagining, and brings peace of mind.
The many benefits derived from art therapy for the mentally disabled are on display at the exhibit at the Nippon Foundation are the fruits of art therapy.