Sunday, April 22, 2001

Patient Sophie Perrenoud worked on her oil painting
Saturday at the Rehabilitation Hospital of the Pacific.

Rehab hospital
turns to the easel
for therapy

Hospital of the Pacific
helps patients create
their own works of art

By Helen Altonn

For many patients at the Rehabilitation Hospital of the Pacific, art is therapy and a method of communication.

Their work, which has appeared in various exhibits, will soon reach people across the state on the back covers of the 2001-2002 "Yellow Pages" telephone book.

Lawyer Ian Mattoch is sponsoring the back covers for Oahu, Maui and the Big Island with art of REHAB patients Wendy Albios, Joyce Arizumi and Andrew Hiraoka.

"These courageous people should be recognized for their accomplishments and their inspirational art," he said.

The paintings were to be presented at a benefit for the Rehabilitation Hospital from 1 to 5 p.m. today at the Sheraton Waikiki.

REHAB's art program, funded by proceeds from the Louis Vuitton Golf Cup Tournament, is "a successful tool in the rehabilitation process, especially for those learning to cope with disabilities," Mattoch said.

"We look at the art program in the clinical model where we incorporate therapy with art," said Ellen Matsumoto, occupational therapist.

She said she has no art background but works with art instructor Reuben Young and volunteers to conduct the program Monday and Friday afternoons for inpatients, outpatients and former patients.

Fifteen to 29 persons normally attend each session, she said.

"It's really awesome," she said, noting some of the patients' art will be featured at a senior fair in September and some are appearing in an Art Academy exhibit.

The work of five women in the art group was featured in March during a Women's History Month exhibit for women and children with disabilities in Honolulu Hale, she said.

Most patients in the art program suffer from strokes, spinal cord and brain injuries. They say the program provides with a creative outlet.

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