Healing Through Art: How Drawing and Dancing Promote Transformation


A couple of times each month, Debbie Watford, a local artist, visits the residents of Toby’s Place and leads them in a paint class. For the hour she is with them, these ladies and their children escape the worry, stress and fear of the day and find a happy place. The art produced each time is amazing! Debbie is convinced that art is truly a form of ministering to the soul and that it gives those who create, and those who see the work created, sheer pleasure.


Kwatika Canty and her daughter Anaya, both Toby’s Place residents, participate in these classes. As an aspiring graphic designer and artist, Kwatika loves to express herself through art. She enjoys passing the time sketching, shading, and blending various scenes she finds relevant in her life.


One day during class, she remembered one of her favorite pictures of her then 13-year-old daughter in a posed, lyrical dance photo. She has loved going to her daughter’s performances and seeing her daughter gracefully move across the stage like a ballerina. Around the same time, the teacher shared a quote with them: “Dance for the audience of One, God, not for the applause of many.” She loved the quote and decided to draw the image and add the words from the quote to the drawing. Listening to guidance and direction from the instructor, combined with her artistic instinct and education, she drew a beautiful rendition of her daughter’s dance photo, practically an exact copy (see photos below).

Now 16, her daughter has the picture framed and hanging in her bedroom to remind her of her mom. When drawing it, Kwatika says she wanted it to be perfect since she knew it would be a gift to her


daughter. She wanted her daughter to remember that God is always keeping watch over here and to remember His presence not only while dancing,

but in life.


Since last July, Kwatika and Anaya have drawn and painted over 5 pieces of art. “As we’ve been going through these classes in Art Therapy, I realize that my daughter is pretty talented!”


These art classes are ongoing, and they are in need of supplies! Take a look below for a list of current supply needs. Please reach out to our Community Engagement Coordinator, Christian Albertsen to coordinate drop-off times.


  • Poster boards (for vision-boards, signs for their door, etc.)

  • Cardstock

  • Acrylic paints and paintbrushes

  • Small canvases

  • Stickers

  • Journals/sketchbooks that they can decorate

  • Small paper bags

  • Lava beads, gemstone beads, and essential oils (this seems odd, but it is therapeutic to make your own bracelet and add specific oils that can help calm anxiety, etc.)

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