By May Hunter

The art of making music and motion is a Cedar City Arts Council Grant, funded series of workshops for the intellectually disabled adult population in Iron County. The purpose of the workshops is to increase functionality in this adult population and to provide for meaningful social interaction amongst peers. It is open to all intellectually disabled adults, but is especially for those who cannot get services in Utah. But all are welcome to attend. The workshops provide a means of engaging in purposeful, enjoyable music, and motion, to learn new skills, and for those participating, to make new friendships amongst others who are in the same population.
The purpose of the activities provided is to stimulate brain functioning, and to increase it. With music and motion, the brain lights up more than any other type of activity and of course, it gives them opportunities for enrichment. A lot of these centers where some of the clients go, don’t have professionals working with them, all the activities offered at the Johnson Center have specially trained people to teach them and increase their functionality. So even though they have a disability, they can overcome this at least somewhat by engagement in meaningful, purposeful activities.
All of the people conducting these workshops are professionals and usually have master’s degrees or are highly experienced in their field including Karen Gordon and Jill Spatafore, who schedule and set up the activities.
Workshops are held at the Johnson’s Art Center and Turn Lighthouse Art Center. Several workshops are planned. One recent workshop, Boomwhacker Music Composition, was taught by the Johnson Center Director and children’s choir director, Melissa Leavitt. Melissa stated it was one of her favorites. She taught that different instruments make different sounds. Each individual played several different percussion instruments. Melissa instructed everyone when to play, making different sounds. Then suddenly they realized music was being made and they were the ones making the music. Music is a barrier breaker because they could feel it and because they all had to work together to make it happen.
Fused Stain Glass workshop was held last week by Carie Treholm. They all really enjoyed that they had the freedom to create anything they wanted. There were no rules, it was all about channeling their own inner artist. It was an excellent activity to improve manual dexterity and fine motor skills as they had to use tweezers and very small pieces of glass to create their masterpieces. They seemed to enjoy combining colors and different textures. They were laser-focused on their creations. Then they were fired in a kiln to the finished artwork. They were all so proud of their creations, each one helping each other create their own masterpiece-priceless! All activities are scheduled about twice a month and last one hour.
If anyone is interested in finding out more information, visit, or call/text: Jill Spatafore at 702-917-2151.


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