A few years ago, the student in this picture wouldn’t have been able to do that; he would have picked anything to draw rather than himself. He’s in his final year now but initially he wasn’t aware that there was any artistic talent within him - he wasn’t even speaking. Now, he’s in an environment where he feels safe, accepted and nurtured. Gradually, through a holistic approach, he has bloomed into a guy who is ready to leave us this year and move on into adult services. So, for me, this picture shows him coming to terms with his physical disability, and therefore he’s able to take on the world.
I remember the day he said, “I think today I’d like to draw my hand.” I just thought to myself, oh my God, he’s talking about himself for the first time. I was spellbound.
It takes somebody very accepting of themselves; of what they’re able to do, and what they’re not able to do, in life.
It takes somebody like that to create art.
I was 25 years working in mainstream school, and I loved it, but I took a career break and came in to the CRC as a substitute and I just fell in love with it. So I left a permanent, pensionable job to come in and go for a full-time job here. There’s something about social development, the holistic approach they take here, that’s just amazing. I suppose, because many of my students are compromised intellectually, standing in front of me every day are children who need nurturing regarding emotional development, social development, independence development; they need all that.
I take a different perspective on life now.
I’ve changed completely, my personality has bloomed.
I can give much more of myself and I think that’s why I was frustrated working in mainstream school; I was becoming a person who wasn’t very nice; I had to be so cross and strict all the time. Working with the CRC has just made me a better person.
Marie Talty, CRC School Art Teacher