By Zandy Dudiak, Communications coordinator
Pittsburgh Mercy Intellectual Disabilities (ID) Services received a grant from the Edith L. Trees Charitable Trust to provide art and music in its day programs. But when COVID hit last spring and the day programs shut down, that left the opportunities provided by the grant in limbo.
“Since COVID, the Trees foundation gave us approval to use the funds for art supplies that our residential persons served could enjoy in the leisure of their own home,” explains Frank Borelli, senior manager of ID Services.
Over the last month, thanks to the grant money, residents of the ID Community Living Arrangements (CLAs) have been enjoying a new craft—painting ceramic animal figurines, coasters, dishes, and planters.
“We ordered the pottery through the Pottery Place in South Park,” said Brian Winkleblech, a program specialist at Brookline Adult Training Facility (ATF). “They provided the pottery, paints, cups, and brushes. They are painted by the persons served and then fired by the Pottery Place.”
CLA colleagues assist the residents with the painting process. Firing the pieces brings out the vibrant colors of the paints.
“The ceramics is new to us,” Frank says. “In the past, we would get art kits with drawing pads, markers, colored pencils, and paint. Brian did some research and found the ceramics place, which is a nice switch from just painting.”
Brian says a second order is on the way from the Pottery Place, so that persons interested in making more than one piece may have the chance to do so.
“Hopefully, a lot of our persons served enjoy doing this and it could be something we could do again in the future,” Brian says. “I am hoping to have individuals in the day programs participate as well, if or when they open again.”
Wendy L., a resident at Homer CLA, puts a coat of paint on her clay pineapple dish. She also applied a second coat on her cow cup. Brian Rach, team lead, who took these photos, says, “She was loving it!!!” Sue Troyan, site supervisor, adds, “Wendy loves doing crafts, so these projects are right up her alley.”