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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

UF rehab hospital to host festival for people with special needs

The UF Health Shands Rehab Hospital is hosting its first art festival for people with special needs.

The ArtsAbility Festival, which begins today from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., will feature musical and dance performances, art stations and a food truck. The festival is the first of its kind, said Lana Watson, the director of rehab services at the hospital. Local artists will teach tai chi, seated yoga and relaxing drawing techniques, she said.

“This is a long-term dream of ours coming to life,” Watson said. “It’s a buffet of events where you can choose your own art adventure and go have fun.”

The festival provides a chance to introduce art into the recovery process, she said.

“We’re bringing together as many art forms as possible,” Watson said. “We want every person there to connect and craft their own experience.”

Amy Kinsey, a recreational therapist at the hospital, said a collaborative art piece will be made from each attendee’s creation and displayed in the rehab hospital.

“Maybe they’ll discover a love for art or a talent they never knew they had,” she said.

Jason Hedges, a musician in residence at UF Health, said music can make a big difference in the healing process. He said he is excited to use music to connect with people at the festival.

“When I walk into events like this, my goal is to make friends with everyone I play for,” he said.

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