University of South Florida home page

USF Main Links: A-Z Index | Campus Directory | Calendars | Search

USF Home > College of The Arts > Institute for Research in Art

Arts at the Clinic

Arts at the Clinic is a weekly art-making program within a clinical setting that is designed for Aphasia clients and their caregivers, as well as clinicians. The sessions are led by artist-faculty and advanced undergraduate student interns majoring in studio art who collaborate to develop and facilitate a progressive series of art-making activities that are appropriate and engaging for all participants. These activities emphasize close observation, focused attention and drawing, or painting, from life as well as imaginative and exploratory processes. Developing artistic skills in a shared studio environment provides a variety of benefits for all participants, from practical ability to social connection.

Aphasia is a communication disorder that results from damage to the parts of the brain that contain language, most often caused by stroke. Aphasia may cause difficulties in speaking, listening, reading and writing, but does not affect intelligence.

Arts at the Clinic builds on visual processes that can launch participants into new modes of learning, discovery and experience. Sessions utilize materials such as charcoal and acrylic paints in exploring drawing and a range of skills, expression and media–in approaches designed with Aphasia in mind.

Clinic sessions make for a shared common experience and focus for all participants that is not dependent on verbal language. Clients and caregivers can step out of their usual roles and clinicians participate alongside clients, while each engage in learning and creating their own artwork.

First launched as a small pilot program in response to a clinicianís request in 2013, Arts at the Clinic continues to develop the studio model and pilot processes for arts engagement.

Arts at the Clinic is offered in conjunction with the Aphasia clinical program of the USF Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders. The program is now available to Aphasia clients and caregivers through the USF Aphasia program, more information available here.


Open studio in a session.

"Our clients with aphasia who participate in the drawing program have improved their use of drawing to communicate and have demonstrated improvement in verbal communication. Our clients become more animated in their verbal encounters, especially when asked to describe their own work. We have incorporated the use of art terminology in the individual and group treatment sessions to improve the clientís use of art vocabulary to discuss their own as well as other artwork. "
– Cheryl Paul, Clinical Instructor, Speech Language Pathology, University of South Florida

Learn More...

To learn more about the USF Aphasia program and joining the open studio art sessions contact Cheryl Paul, Clinical Instructor, Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, at

To learn more about the Arts at the Clinic arts-based model contact Dolores Coe at