Twenty years ago I was a graphic designer with a successful practice in Philadelphia, when I suffered a cerebral hemorrhage that caused paralysis down the right side of my body, loss of speech, and severe cognitive impairment. Conventional medical opinion provided little hope for anything but limited recovery of these vital functions. Today I am mobile, verbal, and, within limits, active, partly due to a very significant breakthrough which came from an unexpected source: the Art and Aesthetics course at the Barnes Foundation.
While I’m sure many people have been profoundly influenced by their involvement with the Barnes, what happened to me was transformative. By "learning to see" the paintings in the galleries of the Barnes, and with the guidance of the instructors, I found myself beginning to think more clearly, to comprehend others more fully, and to structure and communicate my thoughts more articulately, both in writing and in speech. Most importantly, the Barnes Foundation helped me heal by giving me a new perspective on my disabilities.
I hope that the connections the Barnes sparked in me serve as inspiration for others to use meaningful aspects of their own experience to make connections and believe in their brain’s plasticity.
To find out more about my journey of recovery, come hear my presentation this weekend at the Barnes.