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Soft-spoken artist speaks in color

February 21, 2013
By Kathleen Palumbo , Town Crier correspondent

A resident of Briarfield at Ashley Circle in Austintown, Theresa Hickson is one of three visionary artists whose art is currently on display at the Boardman YMCA.

According to information provided by Suzanne Gray, who, as art instructor at the YMCA as well as numerous area nursing homes has worked closely with these special artists, The American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, defines visionary art as "art produced by self-taught individuals, often without formal training in the form of works arising from an innate personal vision that revels foremost in the creative act itself. In short, visionary art begins by listening to the inner voices and inner perceptions of the soul."

Although she loved to knit and crochet when younger, according to Gray, Hickson never had time to explore her creative energy as, the middle of three children in a God-centered family, she always worked a full-time job.

Article Photos

Photo special to the Town Crier
A resident of Ashley Circle in Austintown, Theresa Hickson, one of three Visionary Artists whose work is currently on display at the Boardman YMCA facility, is pictured with her brother, Richard.

Following the death of her son, Hickson raised her granddaughters and cared for her parents, all the while continuing to work outside the home, and later, with her granddaughters grown and gone, and her parents having passed on, Hickson found her own health failing.

Joining the family at Briarfield at Ashley Circle three years ago, according to Gray, it was then that Hickson picked up her paintbrush for the first time and as part of the weekly Ashley Circle Painting Club, blossomed.

"Still a relative neophyte, she depends on her mentor to draw the chosen image, and then the magic begins," said Gray, adding, "Colors invade her head and flow from her hands."

Confined to a wheelchair for the past year, and suffering inexplicable hand contracture that makes it painful to extend her fingers, Gray said Hickson's spirits remain undampened by her infirmities. Well regarded by fellow residents and staff alike, "She avails herself of all offered activities, with painting being her favorite," said Gray.

"She said she lives for Thursday mornings," said Gray of Hickson, who at that time joins the dozen or so residents who make their way to the facility's dining room to feed not their bodies, but rather their creative souls.

In addition to winning numerous awards, Gray said Hickson has also sold one painting to a collector in New York. Having been described by Gray as somewhat quiet, it appears that Hickson has, through her connection to Gray, found her voice in the form of a paintbrush.

In addition to Hickson, the work of Brad Pipoly of Boardman, and John Patterson, of Youngstown, is on display. Sharing in their excitement of the Visionary Art Display, "Not only do we have visionary artists herewe have visionary directors who have allowed this to happen," said Gray.



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