From the Field

I Have Marks to Make at Telfair Museums

December 20, 2016

"As a disabled veteran, I did not believe there was anything but medication and counseling to help me cope with my service-connected PTSD, depression, and anxiety. The more I learned about painting, however, the more art filled a gap that counseling or medication could not." That's a testimonial from a participant in one of Telfair Museums' community outreach programs. Telfair is celebrating these programs and the theraputic benefits of art making through their annual exhibition and public event I Have Marks to Make.

Beginning 22 years ago as a small exhibition of work at the museum produced at the City of Savannah’s Therapeutics program, I Have Marks to Make quickly gained steam with participation from hospitals and other organizations incorporating art making in rehabilitation, as well as work from the museum’s expanding outreach programming. The title of the exhibition comes from a poem by a former program participant.

Today, many of the works exhibited in Marks were produced in the museum’s more than 150 outreach sessions held throughout the community each year. In addition to outreach visits to seniors and youth at city neighborhood centers, Telfair outreach art instructors make a series of 3 visits each to a range of local health and human service organizations including:

  • Savannah Center for Blind and Low Vision 
  • Savannah Speech and Hearing Center’s Stroke Survivor Support Group
  • The City of Savannah Therapeutics Program
  • Ruth Byck Adult Daytime Care Center
  • Goodwill’s ADVANCE Acquired Brain Injury Rehabilitation Program
  • Coastal Center for Developmental Services (serving individuals with developmental disabilities)
  • Candler/ St. Joseph’s Hospital Rehabilitation
  • Department of Veterans Affairs Savannah Primary Care Clinic. 

The VA program has blossomed under the current instructor and Telfair now supports a weekly art program  year-round for veterans who pursue painting at the hospital, and monthly visits by the VA group to current exhibitions and the art studios at the museum.

This year, 108 individuals from elementary school students to senior citizens are exhibiting work in “I Have Marks to Make,” which will remain on view at Telfair’s Jepson Center until January 1.

See Telfair artist and facilitator Autumn Gary with I Have Marks to Make artist and program participant Dale Walker with the Savannah Center for the Blind and Low Vision The Bridge morning show: ‘I Have Marks To Make’: Telfair Museums’ Jepson Center pays tribute to the therapeutic aspects of art

Read more at Connect Savannah: The marks of courage: Telfair’s ‘I Have Marks to Make’ showcases all abilities


Photo: Telfair artist and facilitator Autumn Gary with Anthony “Bear” Bush, an artist from Savannah Speech and Hearing Center Stroke Survivors Group, at the I Have Marks to Make opening