Easter Seals provides exceptional services, education, outreach, and advocacy so that people living with autism and other disabilities can live, learn, work, and play in communities. From child development centers to physical rehabilitation and job training for people with disabilities, Easter Seals offers a variety of services to help people with disabilities address life’s challenges and achieve personal goals.
Easter Seals West Kentucky (ESWKY) represents nearly half a century of helping people with physical and mental challenges to gain greater independence by providing quality services. FSU Museum Education and Visitor-Centered Exhibitions (MEX) Doctoral candidate Anthony Woodruff is currently the ESWKY Art Director of HeArt and Soul, a unique and growing program at the ESWKY Adult Services Center.
Through the HeArt and Soul Program, Woodruff offers those with intellectual or physical disabilities an outlet; a way to focus on their talents and abilities. For those that are wheelchair bound, the art program offers endless opportunities for creativity; for those that are non verbal or have communicative disorders, the art program gives freedom of thought and expression. In addition to playing an important role in helping with areas like emotional support, it has assisted individuals to communicate in new ways, improving memory and movement in others. Moreover, for many, art has given them a new sense of personal creativity and accomplishment.
For the past 11 years, adult clients in the HeArt and Soul program have had the opportunity to work closely with art instructors, and Paducah, Kentucky, Lowertown artists, on collaborative pieces. Furthermore, the program has grown to include one of our community’s favorite yearly events: the HeArt & Soul Art Auction and Fundraiser. The Art Auction, which helps raise much-needed funds to continue their mission, includes collaborative pieces from our Adult artists and Paducah’s Lowertown artists. These pieces have become more beautiful with each passing year and generate thousands of dollars, which go back into the Art Program. The last HeArt and Soul auction, which took place on June 1st, 2018, raised $13,000 for needed funding for the program.
Heart & Soul is also made possible through sponsorships of local businesses, donations of silent auction items from businesses throughout the United States, countless volunteers, and wonderful staff members of ESWKY. With the donation of a kiln in 2014 from Jason and Nicole Farley & boys, the Art Program will continue to add to its curriculum with clay and pottery. In 2016, The Art Program expanded to include the children attending the Child Development Center as well.
The art program is so prolific that area businesses and organizations host an ever-changing gallery of works, including the Lourdes Hospital, The Orthopedic Institute, Remax, Banterra Bank, and Mellow Mushroom.
The Department is proud of Woodruff’s HeArt and Soul Program, his outstanding achievement, and the positive impact made to those served!