Art Opening Shares the Good Work of Paint a Miracle Program

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(Crystal A. Proxmire, Sept. 1, 2015 ed.)

Keith Holder was a painter and a guitar player before a stroke in 2007 took away his ability to use his right hand and left him reliant upon a wheelchair to get around. The loss could have depressed him, but instead he stayed determined. “I paint with my left hand now,” Holder said. “I still haven’t lost my touch.”

One of the most rewarding things for the Madison Heights man is being able to attend classes at Paint a Miracle in Rochester Hills, an organization that helps people with physical challenges make art.

Holder paints pictures of album covers, especially the Beatles. He remembers fondly playing DDAnew01guitar for the band Elija Grace, and says music and art both make him happy. Holder was one of a dozen artists in the Paint a Miracle Art Reception at Level One Bank in Ferndale on Aug. 21. “It’s nice for everyone being here. The stuff is great and these are people I hang out with every day,” he said of his fellow exhibitors.

Sharon Vermeulen had paintings on the wall full of bright colors and flowery designs. “I like painting, doing acrylic, but I also like stitching, and weaving bags,” Vermeulen said. “There is so much to do. It helps so you can think about an idea and then make it happen.”

Paint a Miracle began in honor of Dr. Dale Propson and his artistic mentor, Helen Cuniff. Dr. Propson had been seriously injured when a drunk driver hit his car. He was in a coma for months and required years of physical therapy. He lost his eyesight. Though he took on many hobbies, it wasn’t until he met Cuniff that he found a mission. She taught him that art does not come from sight but from the heart. And after some painting lessons, Dr. Propson wanted to find a way that art could be available to people who are struggling. And the seed for Paint aseed_laura_berman Miracle was planted.

“We teach them art but we’re also there as a support team,” said Carol Cameron who is an instructor at the school. “It’s such a sense of community for everyone. I also just feel like I learn along with them. Every day I go home feeling like it’s been a learning experience.”

For the students the benefits are numerous. “Art is very healing, and it makes people feel good.”

For Director Shelly Tyshka, Dr. Propson’s daughter, there is also a lot of love and learning. “The artists have such unique perspectives of the world. Looking at things through different sets of eyes really is what grounds me.”

Learn more about Paint a Miracle at

Learn more about Level One at

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