[media-credit id=108 align=”alignright” width=”198″][/media-credit]When Weber State University student Suzy Johnson couldn’t find any upper-division courses to take this summer, she found another route to getting the credit she needs to graduate in the fall while simultaneously helping community members.

On June 23, residents of the Washington Terrace Care and Rehabilitation Center and Ogden communities had an opportunity to showcase their artwork at the first Ogden Communities Arts event, which was hosted at the center.

“For me, my motivation to have the event was just the fact that there is a lot of people here who don’t really get to get out and don’t have an opportunity to branch out,” Johnson said. “So I thought it would be fun because it bridges that gap between the community and the residents.”

On top of that, Johnson said she is able to get academic credit for planning the event.

“I’m getting upper-division credit; it’s an independent-study course and sort of like an internship,” Johnson said. “I wanted to continue with my education through the summer, but there were no upper-division courses offered in the summer. So when I was contacted with this opportunity, I was all over it. It will give me the upper-division credit to help me graduate in the fall.”

Johnson, a senior majoring in visual art and minoring in botany at WSU, combined forces with the Washington Terrace Care and Rehabilitation Center’s director of admissions and marketing, Erica Anderson. Together they headed the first Ogden Communities Art show and invited community members to bring their work to the center.

“I think community awareness is key,” Anderson said. “Washington Terrace Rehabilitation Center has been around for around 20 years, and I just thought it would be great to get the community involved and just understand what we do here.”

The center is a care facility geared toward people who need long-term or short-term care. The art show, Anderson said, was a way for residents to display their talents and create a sense of appreciation for art.

“I thought, ‘What a great idea to get Weber State University involved with the skilled nursing facility,’” Anderson said. “It was a chance for the residents who can’t be as physically active, but who spend a lot of time with arts and crafts and those kinds of things, to show off their talents in a different light, and I want them to feel part of the community.”

The art show featured around 55 pieces of mixed-media artwork from artists of all different ages. Watercolor paintings, beadwork, drawings, sculptures and even poetry were on display for the residents and community members to view throughout the day. The event closed with a small reception with food and music.

“The residents have been asking me about this for days,” Johnson said. “They were just so excited.”

This was the first show of its kind for the care and rehabilitation center. Anderson, who reached out to the WSU visual arts department, said she hopes to have more like it in the future and to possibly feature more artists.

“I don’t think it’s ever been done,” Anderson said. “I think it’s a whole new event and it brings a lot of new faces together. I think everyone appreciates art, and I think there is a lot of talent in the community and I haven’t noticed any lately. This is the first year we’ve done this, and if it’s a good turnout, we will definitely want to do it every year.”

Johnson said this was more than just a way to give back to the community; it was also a way to apply the skills she’s learned from WSU.

“The great part about that is that I also get to get school credit at the same time. It is nice to be able to apply what I’m doing in school and get a lot of experience. I’ve entered art in so many shows, but I’ve never been the one to actually put it on, so it has been good because I’ve seen how it works.”

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