Employee Spotlight: Meet Terry, A Passionate Art Facilitator in the Southern Tier!

Meet Terry, a creative visionary from the Southern Tier who passionately guides individuals supported by Aspire of WNY through the creative process of art of all kinds in her role as an Art Facilitator.

Terry’s role as an Art Facilitator involves constantly fostering a creative environment where Aspire of WNY’s iXpress artists can experiment with artistic mediums of all kinds.

“Sometimes I have a project in mind, but often it’s just waiting and seeing what the artist is interested in doing in the art room that day,” explains Terry. “We do all different types of crafts, lots of drawing, painting, and pastel work.”

Terry also loves to implement music into the creative process as often as possible, explaining that she and many of the artists share an appreciation for old-time rock ‘n roll. “We have music playing a lot, and it’s a lot of fun. Sometimes, artists like to draw and paint according to the music. The more upbeat the music, the more upbeat the work can tend to be. Music is definitely art therapy,” Terry expresses.

In the art room, Terry often adapts different artistic techniques to suit each individual’s unique abilities. “For artists in wheelchairs, we’ve taped paint brushes onto the ends of long sticks to allow them closer access to the canvas,” Terry explains. “One artist found joy in rhythmic tapping, so we taped a rubber ball to the end of her paintbrush so that she could tap paint onto the canvas. This method allowed for her to create some really cool art,” Terry recounts.

Terry recalls one memory in particular that was extra special for her throughout her years as an Art Facilitator. “Twice, myself and some of the artists were able to do a joint show at the Lakewood library together, called “Student and Teacher,” Terry says. “Both the iXpress artists and I had art on display, but the iXpress artists definitely outshined me. I was really proud of them. My friends came, and the artist’s friends and family came too. I was told it was the first time the library had done a joint art show between students and their teacher. It was a unique experience and one of my fondest memories.”

No matter what types of projects are being worked on that day, “there’s never a bad day in the art room,” according to Terry. “I love the joy that you see in their faces when they create something they’re proud of, and in turn, it makes me proud,” explains Terry. Terry shares that her role as an Art Facilitator as Aspire of WNY is “…the best job I’ve ever had. I look forward to being in the art room with the artists daily. This job captured something in my soul and has made me a better artist and a better person.”

“When you think of compassion, dedication, and creativity, look no further than Terry Lair, one of our Art Facilitators. Terry has dedicated the past 11 years to Aspire of WNY, educating, mentoring, and empowering the artists she works with at the Lakewood Day Hab. Terry takes the time to explore each artist’s strength and dedicates her time and energy to providing growth opportunities for the artist.  This, in turn, enables the artist to create and develop a style of art they can call their own,” explains Amy Holdnack, Coordinator of Day Service Opportunities at Aspire of WNY.

“I am grateful for Terry and the moments that she creates with the artists that she supports. Not only through art but also through her positive interactions,” explains Mary Anne Coombe, Vice President of Day Services at Aspire of WNY.

Terry is a wonderful example of both creativity and compassion. She guides iXpress artists through their own individual journeys of creative expression here at Aspire of WNY. Aspire of WNY is proud to have Terry, who is making an impact one colorful canvas at a time.