Members at The Center for Individuals with Physical Challenges express themselves through art.
This week, the organization welcomed its first guest teacher since the start of the pandemic, Tulsa artist Scott Taylor.
The focus of the class is to empower members and remind them that everyone is unique and different, just like each work of art.
"It's very relaxing and it's very therapeutic for me. It calms me,” said member and artist John Olivas.
Olivas is a member at The Center, where he discovered his love for art.
"I take my time, very slow painting,” Olivas said.
The former California firefighter moved to Oklahoma after having a stroke.
He was looking for a stroke survivors’ class, when he found The Center and saw the art room.
“And Sally, who was an instructor here, said 'Come on in.' I said, 'Me? I don't do art.' And she said, 'I can teach you,’” Olivas said.
Now, he uses his dominant hand to create works of art.
Olivas said he's inspired by different artists, or his own dreams.
"It gives me a sense of accomplishment when I get one done,” Olivas said.
That's the hope for each artist who comes through the classroom.
Taylor charged the members to paint a memory or something that gives them peace.
"Art in general is just good for people's mental health, it's good for concentration, it's good for fine motor skill development,” said Wendi Fralick, Executive Director of The Center.
Fralick said most importantly, art allows people to express who they are and what brings them joy, no matter skillset or circumstance.
Through adversity, Olivas became an artist.
His advice to those hoping to overcome a challenge is simple.
"If you think you can't do something, you can. You just have to want to,” Olivas said.