Local artist lends talent to Cherokee Trails
Cherokee Trails Rehab and Healthcare Center residents enjoy a painting recently presented to the facility. The subject of the painting, done by a local artist, reflects the Cherokee people’s heritage and honors the Rusk Eagles in its color scheme.
Cherokee Trails Rehab and Healthcare Center in Rusk is decorating with a theme, thanks to a local artist and volunteer.
Earlier this year, Atoy resident Bonnie Gibson presented a one-of-a-kind painting featuring a traditional Cherokee native headdress, in a black, white and red color scheme, to honor both the county’s Cherokee native American heritage and pay tribute to the Rusk Eagles. While Gibson graciously declined an interview, saying she wasn’t looking for accolades for her works, she did say she just wanted to use her talents for “the glory of God.”
Center Activities Director Lisa Jones added, “She comes and visits our residents and volunteers, and took it upon herself to make something she thought our residents would enjoy.
“It really makes our residents feel good to know they’ve not been forgotten. I understand she’s working on a second piece already.”
Studies have shown visual art is a powerful resource for mental and physical well-being, especially for the elderly. Medical researchers have noted viewing artworks can have stabilizing effects on an individual by helping to reduce distress; increasing self-reflection and self-awareness; altering behavior and thinking patterns; and can help normalize heart rate, blood pressure and cortisol levels.
Gibson’s painting is currently on display in the front community room at Cherokee Trails.
Facility officials and residents said they appreciate the Cherokee theme, which reflects the center’s name and the county’s history.
“I think it’s awesome,” resident Connie Hall said. “I’ve got Cherokee ancestors and I’m proud our heritage is being kept alive.”
Center Administrator Stephanie Toch added, “It’s great that we have such wonderful community support. We’d love to see more children get involved here, too.”
Jones said Cherokee Trails is always needing volunteers to help with various programs for the residents. Call the facility at (903) 683 5438 to find out how to become a volunteer.
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