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Art Gallery Explores Creativity and Parkison's Disease

Special guests will be at the Woodstock Art Gallery for a free event discussing Parkinson's disease and creative process.

WOODSTOCK - The Woodstock Art Gallery is hosting a special two hour panel discussion as a part of Parkinson's Awareness Month. 

The discussion, being held Saturday at 1:30 p.m., is on Creating with Parkinson's and will feature three guest speakers: artists Michelle Forsyth and Dick Hale, and neurosurgeon Dr. Alfonso Fasano. Gallery Director and Curator Mary Reid says that Fasano has been doing research linking Parkinson's disease with creativity.

"Both in artists and people that haven't been artistic in the past all of the sudden feel that this is important. And so through his research, he's just at the preliminary stages of his research, he's looking at Parkinson's in terms of its role of maybe activating these kind of creative synapses in the brain.

Both Forsyth and Hale suffer from Parkinson's disease. Forsyth recently underwent deep brain stimulation surgery for Parkinson's. She will speak about Parkinson's and sensuality focusing specifically on her most recent work. Hale, who also suffers from Parkinson's, paints a variety of abstract pieces and will talk about how they were created as a result of living with the disease. Reid says that panels like this don't happen often.

“From what I can understand this is the first time that this has ever happened in Canada, and we're going to be looking at the link between Parkinson's and creativity.”

The panel discussion has been developed in partnership with the Parkinson's Society Southwestern Ontario. In recognition of the support Walter Redinger was given during his battle with Parkinson's disease a piece of his work is being raffled off by his estate. Tickets are being sold for $5.00 and are being sold at the Art Gallery. 

Reid adds she sees the panel and speakers as a way to bring people together.

"It's an opportunity for two sides of the population to come together. So certainly those who are interested in art or making art, but for those who are dealing with Parkinson's or if some way Parkinson's has touched on their life there's an opportunity to have a conversation where the two audiences come together and perhaps look at the benefits and the connection between the two."

Admission to the discussion is free of charge and open to anybody that wants to attend.

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