Meet Our Team: An Interview With Cari Randa

“There are no mistakes in art, only surprises,” says Cari Randa, Three Links’ newly-minted art therapist. She’s noticed that many seniors initially hesitate to experiment with art materials, doubting their own ability to create something worthwhile. “I often hear stories from seniors about how they were discouraged from making art as children and told they were no good.”

Cari herself is not a trained artist, so she can say with conviction that being good at art is not a prerequisite for getting something positive out of it. “When I was in art therapy school, I saw one of my classmates create a life-sized portrait of Beyoncé in 45 minutes. I’ll never be able to do that, but I’ve always loved using art as a way to process my thoughts and enjoy time by myself.”

With Cari’s support, seniors are able to let go of their initial reservations and embrace art as a way to reminisce, connect with others, and enjoy their own imaginations. For residents who live on the Kinney and Rebekah Units, Cari sits with them one-on-one to choose colours, chat, and make a piece of art together. On the Whiting Unit, her programs bring groups of residents together to socialize with each other as they create their art. Cari is quick to emphasize that even though it’s a group setting, it’s not a class. “We’re there to build a community and reduce the feelings of isolation that some seniors experience.”

What she loves about art therapy is that it’s more playful than other types of therapy. She invites residents to “colour outside the lines” both literally and figuratively. “The final product doesn’t have to mean anything,” says Cari, “you can draw a blue circle just because the colour and the shape make you feel good.”

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