Meaningful Connections

by Patrick McNerthney—Creative Director, Outcasting

I’ve never told anyone at Fine Art Miracles (FAM) this, but I once received a “D” in drawing class.

Ironic considering FAM offers some pretty cool Art Therapy Classes and I’m technically part of the team. Maybe don’t mention anything to them k?  

I took drawing during the fall semester of my senior year of high school. My teacher pushed us hard, I think she wanted to inspire budding artists. After observing my complete and utter lack of ability (and spending countless hours trying to help), her frustration and distaste for my incompetence got the better of her and she basically threw up her hands one day and gave up.

Made sense to me. It looked like I was drawing things with my feet.

Amateur Drawing of a hand in repose

Hand in Repose, Patrick McNerthney, 1992 – took me two hours and this was the best version


Imagine my surprise when (six months later) I received a hand-written note from this teacher extolling the virtues of my good-natured humor and general kindness, kind of giving me an “A” for soft skills.   

I no longer felt untalented or that a chasm existed between us. This surprise note was such a powerful way to connect that I remember it 30 years later and it taught me far more than I’d ever learn in that drawing class. 

Any action that solicits an emotional or sharing experience creates connection. And sometimes the most powerful actions aren’t part of our job descriptions or curriculums. 

White, Black, and Red Person Carrying Heart Illustration in Brown EnvelopeA smile, a note, a question—they can create connection, open doors, and change futures.  

Caregivers often fear loneliness and isolation; they don’t want seniors to feel alone or abandoned. Art Therapy Classes from Fine Art Miracles are certainly one solution, providing the environment for the elderly to express memories, reflect on life, gain insight, show mastery, or simply to proudly display today’s finished piece. All of this fosters connection with their own past and self-worth as well as with their peers and caregivers. 

But it’s those little things you do, every day, that have the most impact. The little things – showing concern, the laughter in your voice, your encouragement—drip by drip, they inspire those under your care to connect with you, their friends and family, and the world around them.

Thank you for wanting connection. You’re helping those who so desperately need connection. 

And thanks Mrs. Stormant, 2nd period drawing instructor, class of 1992, wherever you are.

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