Arts in Healthcare, Part 2: Provo Rehabilitation and Nursing

Ken Crossley, of EngAGE Utah, an organization that facilitates arts-in-healthcare opportunities for seniors, invited me to come to Utah to do inkblot workshops at two different facilities. In the last blog post, I talked about the workshop we did at Huntsman Cancer Institute. After this workshop, Ken drove me to Provo, and the next day, I facilitated a workshop at Provo Rehabilitation and Nursing. In the first part of the workshop, I did an inkblot workshop for about twenty nurses, administrators and other area healthcare providers (The nurses who took the workshop were able to get two CE credits from the experience). We made inkblots with tempera (diluted with water half and half, in squeeze bottles). While our inkblots dried, we played a game with funny questions  that get the brain moving and the eyes seeing into the inkblot images. Then, we drew into the inkblots with pens and colored pencils.

Most of the participants were not artists, and yet everyone made interesting artwork!

Here’s a four-eyed alien:  alien













And some flowering trees:cherryblossoms

Ken made some inkblots:

ken makes inkblots














The participants in the first group were sitting at ten large round tables, and at each table, we left a space for the elder residents to sit, with space for wheelchairs and gear, if needed. After the nurses did their workshop, then the elders came in and the nurses ran a mini inkblot workshop at each table, assessing the needs of each individual. It was magical. Of course, I can’t include pictures of the participants, of course, but can describe some of what we did and learned.

One person couldn’t manipulate the squeeze bottles, and so one of the nurses held her hand with the bottle in it, and dotted the paper with paint. She could fold and unfold the paper by herself, though.

One woman was very ambitious and excited, but we made the mistake of having both squeeze bottles with tempera as well as ink with droppers inside at her table, and that was really frustrating for her. Once she got past that, though, she drew into her inkblots and made some great pictures–elegant trees among them.

A woman that I worked with closely had been very involved with her garden, and we talked about how landscapes were very moving to her. So, I tore some larger sized paper into long, thin pieces, and she made horizontal inkblots–very landscape-like–and we talked about what we saw in them–lakes and mountains and trees.

Another woman told me she had art supplies in her room, and was going to try to make inkblots in her room after the workshop. I asked her if she was an artist, and she said, “I don’t like ANYTHING I do with them, but these (the inkblots) I like!”

I did a drawing for a free copy of my book, Inkblot: Drip, Splat and Squish Your Way to Creativity, at the workshop. Inkblot is available at Amazon:, where you can also “Look Inside” the book.Inkblot jkt 72











Here’s me with some of the care-giver participants:







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