Success Story: Shelly and Ki - Artists for Trauma

AFT provides trauma survivors a means to heighten their awareness, creativity and engagement by pairing them with an artist from an art discipline that speaks to their heart. Here are some success stories.

Shelly and Ki

Rachelle (Shelly) Jones and Ki Cho

Shelly’s mother wrote:

“Rachelle (Shelly) Jones is a vibrant 22 year old. In January 2009, during her second quarter of study at the University of Oregon, she suffered two brain aneurysms which burst. She was in a coma for three weeks, hospitalized for five months and has suffered the lasting effects of this traumatic event.

She is cortically blind, has aphasia and right side physical weakness and numbness. She is eager to be a productive member of society but these impairments have significantly hindered attainment of this goal. It has been quite difficult to find activities in which she can participate, although we have tried for the last four years.

Thankfully, we met Laura Sharpe and became involved with Artists for Trauma.”

Shelly was paired with Ki Cho, a ceramicist who has been creating and teaching ceramics for over twenty years. His work has been featured in galleries and museums such as LACMA and the Palm Springs Desert Museum. He now is the owner of Echo Ceramics which has studios around Los Angeles.

Ki said that “Shelly was very responsive working with clay, and it was wonderful to be able to give her some sort of outlet and joy working with her hands, even though she was not able to see. The challenge for Shelly was her frustration with her limited movement and her blindness. At first, she resisted using her paralyzed hand, but in our engagement, she felt encouraged to use it, so soon she was creating ceramics with both hands. Seeing this transformative experience firsthand was really incredible and such a satisfaction to be able to help.”

Shelly’s mother told us that through creating her work with Ki, she found an outlet and source of enjoyment. She found the experience very fulfilling and thinks she has found a new lifelong creative hobby.

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