In the visual arts room at My Possibilities, a new masterpiece, fresh off a wooden easel, lays out to dry on a nearby table. Merely a blank white canvas just hours ago, the painting now springs to life with vibrant color – a maze of sapphire and electric blue punctuated by streaks of crimson and rose. The transformation is stunning.
Yet for Casey Parrott, SMU grad and the Create Program Lead at My Possibilities, the most stunning transformation doesn’t come in the form of a canvas painting, but rather the growth of his students. Since his arrival at My Possibilities in 2011, Casey has been a firsthand witness to the incredible effects that the arts have had on his students, and the effects that his students have had on him.
“They’ve come alive,” Says Casey, “They’ve shown us who they are [and] what they’re capable of.”
Over the course of six years Casey’s students aren’t the only ones who’ve grown. Originally hired on as an art teacher, Casey, a self-described ‘adventurous & wild spirit’, began his journey at My Possibilities with little experience teaching and working with special needs adults. However, with his background in the arts and years of experience practicing his craft, Casey quickly set forth a plan to teach those eager to learn about and create art.
“What I’ve done from the very beginning of my visual arts classes is really just having people start with pencil and paper,” Casey explains. “I’ll have them either draw something from a book and just draw from observation, or I’ll have them draw something conceptual just to find out where they’re coming from, what their skill sets are, and what are their natural affinities.”
“And once we have that, we then build it up,” Casey continues. “We’ll try painting, we’ll try sculpture, we’ll try collage; just finding out what clicks with their abilities and their desires, and what’s going to help them communicate best.”
Through his teachings Casey has watched his students grow in various ways- from the confidence boost that results from completing a piece of art, to the pride that comes from selling one’s own artwork. Casey himself has even experienced his own transformation, saying, “I’ve learned a lot about myself, and I’ve learned a lot of ways I need to grow by being around these adults with special needs.”
The stunning artwork that adorns his classroom walls serves as a daily reminder of the true transformation occurring in his classroom.
For more information on our Create Program please click here.