Rise Art Therapist Stacy Gross believes she was destined to work at Rise. Her gift since a young age has been an ability to bring out personalities of people.
She does that each day through Art Speaks, our art therapy program. A licensed art therapist, Gross supports people who are receiving services at Rise locations and remotely from home. She believes self-expression can be a therapeutic, fun and worthwhile experience.
“When I got to Rise six years ago, it was an art program. Now it is an art therapy program. Rise really focuses on why we are here, which is the people we serve. Rise’s business is people, and they take that seriously,” Gross says.
Art Speaks focuses as much or more on the process as it does a finished product, complementing other therapeutic and habilitative services people receive. Gross guides them through the process, encouraging people to be expressive through different art and media.
“Art is another form of communication. Someone who is not necessarily verbal can still express themselves visually through art,” she says. “You don’t have to use a paintbrush. You don’t have to use a pencil. You can use one of our favorites here a Rise: a potato smasher! Another favorite is a fly swatter.”
Artists find their voices in new and exciting ways through Art Speaks. Gross believes the creative process contributes to increased relaxation and reduced anxiety. People also listen to music and talk about their art throughout the process. For those who are not as verbal or prefer to relax, the music and conversation create an enjoyable multi-sensory experience. Gross says her job and the connections she makes each day keep her coming back to work with smile.
“I laugh every day,” she said. “One of my favorite days, I had come back from vacation, and I walked into the adult-day Coon Rapids room. They gave me a standing ovation! They were so excited I had come back and was ready to do art with them. That was an outstanding day.”