By Kathy Collins

Center Place of Brandon is proud to present C.R.E.A.T.E., an art therapy program for children and adults with special needs. Long time Center Place instructor Greg Manley is C.R.E.A.T.E.’s instructor.

Classes are held on Tuesdays. Children’s classes meet from 5-6 p.m. and adults meet from 6:30-7:30 p.m. Upcoming scheduled classes will be held on February 23, March 1, 8, 22 and 29. All supplies are included. The classes cost $15 for members and $18 for non-members.

C.R.E.A.T.E. stands for Center Place Reaches out to Encourage Artistic expression Through creative Engagement.

The focus of C.R.E.A.T.E. is on the therapeutic value rather than the finished art project. Executive Director of Center Place Dawn Galia explained, “We want the class to be about how the students feel when they leave class. They can express themselves with any medium.”

C.R.E.A.T.E. has been a project in the works for two years and is a passion for both Galia and Manley who holds a degree in Art Education with a minor in Psychology. He also has completed classes toward a Master’s in Art Therapy.

Phyllis Guthman’s 21 year old son attended Center Place’s C.R.E.A.T.E. Guthman said, “It is nice that Center place has created a unique program that is age appropriate and close to home. In my son’s case, he is very familiar with both the Brandon Library and Center Place, as he has attended programs at both since he was in Pre-K. He also knew the teacher, Mr. Greg Manley, so it is a comfortable environment for him. Mr. Manley is also a wonderful teacher and this is a heart project for both he and Dawn, and it is apparent. It is an important program because all individuals, regardless of ability, should have access to the arts. Research on the academic benefits are well known.”

Center Place is located at 619 Vonderburg Dr. in Brandon. For more information, call 685-8888 or visit www.centerplacebrandon.org.