For the second consecutive year, Occupational Therapy students at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center will host a community art auction to raise funds for the UTHSC Rachel Kay Stevens Therapy Center, the only pro bono occupational therapy clinic in the area.
The Rachel Kay Stevens Therapy Center Art Show and Auction is set for May 8 from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. in the Rachel Kay Stevens Therapy Center on the 4th floor of the Boling Center at 711 Jefferson Avenue on the Memphis campus. Admission is free, and the public is invited to view and bid on the pieces created primarily by children who are receiving OT services or are enrolled in special-needs classes in the community.
Launched in February 2016 by the students and faculty of UTHSC’s Occupational Therapy Department, the center was founded in memory of Rachel Kay Stevens, who died suddenly, shortly after starting her OT training at UTHSC. It provides OT services to the uninsured or underinsured, initially serving only pediatric clients, but now transitioning to serve all ages.
The center is managed and staffed primarily by OT student volunteers under the direct supervision of faculty. It has served roughly 290 clients since it opened. More than 60 percent of initial visits are screenings, many of which might not have been possible without the center.
Macy Porter, a second-year OT student who is chairing the event, said the auction perfectly displays the value of occupational therapy and of the center.
“I absolutely loved last year’s inaugural art show and seeing the participants’ unique artistic abilities,” she said. “The auction is a fun way to bring in funds and raise awareness about the center. More importantly, this event allows those with special needs to showcase their talents and make a difference in the community.”
OT students have reached out to local schools, pediatric clinics, hospitals, and private practices to solicit the artwork to be displayed and sold.
Themed “Oh, the Places You’ll Go,” the event is expected to feature up to 75 pieces for auction or sale. Organizers are working with local artist group, The Artist Commons, which is donating five pieces and collaborating on several projects.
The Memphis Medical District Collaborative is contributing funds for the programming and promotion of the event.
All proceeds go to the center, which provides developmental screenings, evaluations and occupational therapy treatment, as well as education. Students also perform outreach initiatives to improve the lives of children and families in the community.
Anne Zachry, PhD, OTR/L, chair of the OT Department, said the center has been a win/win for the university and the community. “Not only are underserved children and families in our community receiving much-needed therapy services through the UTHSC Rachel Kay Stevens Therapy Center, our students are gaining valuable hands-on clinical learning experiences that will directly translate to their future careers as occupational therapists.”