PMAC Teaching Artist, Ginna McDonald, shares her memories of PMAC student, Jackie Jarest, who passed away in January 2019.
“I met Jackie when our art therapist and I were awarded the Arts In Health Project Grant from the NH State Council on the Arts to work with the members at the Krempels Center – an organization in Portsmouth that helps people with brain injuries. A fabulous artist, she came to PMAC after that to explore her musical side. “That’s music therapy!” was something she often exclaimed while learning how to play the piano as she explored the different ways music’s healing power, how music could enhance the daily act of living. She generously offered her time to help PMAC, feeling their mission was a valuable asset to the community. She was quick to laugh about the silly things her pets or service dog, Wallace, did, or the silly songs we would write together for the musical we were going to write – ‘Disability, the Musical’. She was adamant that the #metoo movement not leave out those with disabilities, who often suffer humiliation and degradation on a daily basis when venturing out into the world. Jackie’s spirit was positive even on her most difficult days. She has left an indelible imprint on me and I do not feel ready to say goodbye to her. I will carry her in my heart and do my best to advocate for those voices in the disabled community that are not being heard. We will miss you JJ. ”