The Brain Energy Support Team (BEST) wants to take this opportunity to thank our hardworking and amazing volunteers, terrific community partners, generous donors and passionate communities (support groups, BEST Space and online).
Our gratitude and appreciation fills our hearts for all of you, today and every day.
Thank YOU for all you do, and for all you are.
It must be in the genes.
Diane Rasch and Hannah Krueger are not only mother and daughter, but they are also both passionate and dedicated artists. What is even more interesting: both women are featured in the same two upcoming art shows in the Pacific Northwest this year.
The artists will show their work in the 11th Annual Brain Injury Art Show at the Seattle Art Museum next month, and the BEST Superhero community art installation at the Tacoma Art Museum this fall.
The Brain Energy Support Team (BEST) recently had the opportunity to interview both Rasch and Krueger about their approach to art, their journey forward after traumatic brain injury (TBI), and their pieces for the upcoming art show in June.
It wasn’t lost on us that both women, during each other’s interviews, were beaming with love and pride for one another as each listened in intently.
Let’s meet our artists.
Artist Hannah Krueger
Hannah Krueger began exploring art and creativity in her twenties. It proved to be life affirming and satisfying.
“It helped me go through life. Every piece I do, it means something to me.”
Art has been particularly important to Krueger since 2017 after falling in a store and sustaining a traumatic brain injury. While she coped with symptoms right after her fall, her symptoms returned a year later, which created challenges.
Krueger wants to share how she copes through her artwork.
Next month, Krueger will participate in her first art show, the 11th Annual Brain Injury Art Show at the Seattle Art Museum. Her piece, titled, Beautiful You, a mixed media art piece that features paints, paper art, and repurposed materials, has deep personal meaning for the artist.
“The circle shows who I am, and the outside shows the TBI,” explains the artist.
She breaks down the outside of the piece further.
“As someone struggling with TBI, we feel like we are taped together, and the black and brown, is the nitty gritty of what we go through.
Everything on the board is what I go through and how I cope. By putting the two canvases together, I explore the metaphors of what having a brain injury is like.”
Artist Diane Rasch
Diane Rasch is a longtime artist, the owner and creator of Heartfelt Tidbits of Creativity, and serves as the BEST Creative Consultant for Arts and Education and the BEST Gratitude Specialist.
Rasch has been participating in the Brain Injury Art Show for six years.
Each piece she has created for these shows have been special, and her 2019 piece is no exception.
Her mixed media collage piece featuring repurposed materials is titled, Memories, and explores memories, good and bad, lost and found.
“After brain injury, we struggle with memory,” says Rasch. “One day, I saw some of these different items of toys and games, and all of sudden it sparked a memory for me, good and bad.”
Rasch continues, “I struggle with memories of my growing up years and my children’s growing up years. I do know many of these items were a part of my past.
I wanted to create a piece using scrabble tiles because I was told that this game was a part of my children’s growing up time with friends. So, I used these words and items, and put them on a black background to represent hidden or lost memories.”
It’s Rasch’s hope and wish that her piece helps evoke memories for everyone.
“May this piece aid you in bringing back some of your memories.”
To learn more about the 11th Annual Brain Injury Art Show, please click here.
To get sneak preview of the BEST Superhero Community Art Installation this fall (and to get involved as an artist), click here.
Then, be a superhero and visit the Superhero Shoppe, chock full of cards, goodies, party goods and gifts fit for all of the superheroes in your life!
Check it out!
Here are all of the details:
What: A shoppe that offers fun and unique superhero gifts, accessories and more. Proceeds from the Superhero Shoppe support the superheroes of the brain injury community and the superhero programs, services and resources offered at Our BEST Space. The Superhero Shoppe also proudly features the work of paper artist, Diane Rasch of Heartfelt Tidbits of Creativity.
When: Superhero Shoppe hours are Wednesdays from 12pm to 6 pm and Tuesdays and Thursdays 10 am to 4 pm.
Where: 2607 Bridgeport Way W. Suite #1H, University Place, Washington. Click here for driving directions.
Why: To share superhero support and fun to the entire community (and to the world!).
More Superhero Shoppe info: Watch this space for our new online Superhero Shoppe coming soon on the BEST website! With our new and upcoming online shoppe, you can shop 24 X 7 from the convenience of home!
BEST will be adding new items regularly to the shoppe. Please visit the BEST blog for the latest inventory announcements and updates.
To note: As a volunteer organization, hours may vary. For more information, please contact us at 877-719-2378 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The Superhero Shoppe accepts cash, credit card or personal check (with valid ID and from a local bank only). We do not accept bills $50 and higher.
(Editor’s note: Writer, BEST guest blog contributor and stroke survivor, Isaac Peterson, had an opportunity to try to something new: advocacy work. In his latest personal essay, he shares his experience as an advocate and about the new TBI legislation in Washington State. KT)
There’s an old saying that goes, Laws are like sausages, it is better not to see them being made.
Well, I just got to see a law being made, and I think it’s more like watching grass grow or paint drying, or at least it can be.
For me, it all started last May at the annual statewide TBI conference here in Tacoma. That’s where I was approached by someone who asked for my help in legislative outreach efforts and I accepted.
The process began before I got on board, and they had had a pretty cool idea for a bill they wanted to get through the state legislature and signed into law by the governor. Their idea was to expand on an existing measure commonly called the Tommy Manning Act.
First, a little side trip here before I go on.
Tommy Manning was a TBI survivor in Washington State. He was tireless and relentless in lobbying state legislators. Manning was a fixture at the state capitol, and stayed until the idea he was pushing finally became state law.
Manning, who recently passed away, is an iconic figure here in the TBI community; but at least he lived to see his dream become reality.
I had the honor of being one of the people following in his footsteps, but I could never hope to fill his shoes.
The Tommy Manning Act directed the state to provide services for Washington State TBI survivors. The bill we were pushing would kind of expand on that by providing a funding mechanism for those services; the proposal was that the funding mechanism in place should be be modified, and the amount dedicated to maintaining TBI-related services should be increased. Before this proposal, the funding came from directing two dollars from fines for traffic violations to be diverted to fund those services.
The new bill would indirectly expand on the Tommy Manning Act by increasing that to five dollars from each paid fine, and would include fines resulting from surveillance cameras at stop lights.
I didn’t have anything to do with coming up with the idea, but I was asked to play a pretty cool part in getting it through the legislature.
I started by attending meetings with the team with legislators to get them interested in supporting us. We talked to their legislative aides and convinced them to add appointments with us to their legislator’s calendars. We met in their offices and coffee shops, and it was a great time.
We got enough lawmakers interested and finally it was suggested we should put the ideas down in what I think were called draft proposals—laying out our proposal in the format and language used for legislation. As the writer it became my job to write the drafts. It was so surprisingly easy I barely remember doing it—or maybe that’s just my brain injury acting up.
Next, were the legislative hearings on our proposal to both House and Senate committees. We got to provide testimony and I have to say they were fun, even though one of the hearings was kind of sprung on me at the last second. But no worries—I was witty, I was clever, and I was charming. I figure I must have been because they didn’t laugh at me or tell me to get out or anything
When the hearings were done, it was time for the final vote. The bill passed in the House 95-0, and the Senate 47-1. Then, on to the governor’s desk.
The bill signing happened on April 29, 2019, and I was invited to attend. I’d never been to anything like it. It was actually fun—lots of photos with the governor and he actually handed out replicas of the pen he uses for bill signings. It wasn’t a cheap pen either—it was embossed with a gold icon of Washington State, along with his signature.
The bill is set to become law in 90 days and getting there was definitely more interesting than watching paint dry.
And that was my adventure at the legislature. It took a long time and a lot of work, but now Washington State is at the forefront of states that recognize traumatic brain injury as the widespread problem it is and the importance of TBI-related services.
I haven’t heard of any other state with anything like it, but I hope other states follow.
And it serves as a reminder to never underestimate the power of a dedicated group of individuals committed to a cause greater than themselves. You may be surprised what’s possible when you really put your mind to it.
Now, with the successful conclusion of my adventure in Legislature Land, it’s time for me to return to my regular job as a TBI Keyboard Commando.
Isaac Peterson grew up on an Air Force base near Cheyenne, Wyoming. After graduating from the University of Wyoming, he embarked on a career as an award-winning investigative journalist and as a semi-professional musician in the Twin Cities, the place he called home on and off for 35 years. He also doesn’t mind it at all if someone offers to pick up his restaurant tab. Peterson also welcomes reader comments. Email him at email@example.com.
Ah, for the love of art.
This spring and summer, the local community art scene has something to offer for everyone. Here are three opportunities for you to create, share, and celebrate art!
Washington State BEST artists, share your art with the community this fall. See flyer below and click HERE to learn how YOU can participate.
Celebrate the art of the Washington State brain injury community at the 11th Annual TBI Art Show.
Details below from the BIAWA website:
BIAWA is pleased to announce that our 11th Annual Brain Injury Art Show will be on display at the Seattle Art Museum from June 5th through July 22nd in the Community Corridor.
All are invited to the Opening Reception on Thursday, June 6th from 5:30 – 7:30 pm to celebrate the artists and their talents.
When: Thursday, June 6th from 5:30 – 7:30 pm
Where: Seattle Art Museum
1300 1st Ave
Seattle, WA 98101
*The Community Corridor is located on the first floor of the Seattle Art Museum and can be found off the South Hall entrance.
Cost: This event is free to attend. RSVP is required.
Art Show Details-
When: June 5th through July 22nd
Where: Seattle Art Museum in the Community Corridor
Cost: The Community Corridor is free and open to the public during Seattle Art Museum business hours. The rest of the museum does require a purchased ticket.
Monday & Tuesday: CLOSED
Wednesday & Friday-Sunday: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Thursday: 10:00 am – 9:00 pm
RSVP to the Art Show Opening Reception here.
The spring trademark weather of bright blue skies and warm sunshine of Eastern Washington, beckoned a special group last weekend to relax, reflect, and recharge.
Our first TBI camping retreat was held from May 9 through May 12, 2019 at Liberty Lake Regional Park in Spokane County in Eastern Washington. The camping trip was designed to be a quiet, comfortable and safe space for brain injury survivors and their families to take in the beauty of nature, relax, socialize, and learn something new.
Campers enjoyed nature walks, arts and crafts, fireside support groups, a special guest speaker, and great eats and treats at a camp side barbecue.
For retreat organizer, Nick Mehrnoosh, it was amazing experience.
“The core of the retreat was friends, with and without a brain injury, who wanted to go camping together,” shared Mehrnoosh. “As we planned the retreat over several months, we designed it to be brain injury friendly. The schedule was flexible, the noise was minimal, food was kept healthy, and the area around Liberty Lake Regional Park was ideal for a relaxing experience.”
Mehrnoosh continues, “We had different activities each day, with campfire support circles at night. It was absolutely beautiful to watch those that have lived with a brain injury for quite some time, impart their experience and knowledge with those still navigating their brain injury.
On the last day of the retreat, we had a speech pathologist visit to talk about navigating social situations, and everyone was beyond engaged with the presentation. Afterward, there was a barbecue and we all made homemade ice cream.”
However, it was a single moment that really captured the essence of the retreat for Mehrnoosh.
“There was a moment when I looked around in amazement, and saw children playing, people laughing with one another, and others connecting for the first time. You would never have guessed that nearly everyone in attendance had some form of brain injury.”
Mehrnoosh is already thinking into the future for the next retreat.
“I and many others can’t wait for our next Eastern Washington TBI Retreat in May 2020,” he smiles.
If the pictures in the slideshow below are any indication, a good time was had by all.
Due to the success of this first retreat, the Brain Energy Support Team (BEST) is looking to make this an annual event. Stay tuned for information about 2020 opportunities.
In the meantime, enjoy our photos by the lake.