UAMS Movement Disorders Clinic to Offer Free Cooking, Art, Music Classes to Patients

By Linda Satter

In all classes, no experience is necessary and materials will be provided.

The Art for Parkinsonism workshops began in 2022 and were so popular that participants requested additional opportunities for social interaction and emotional stimulation, leading to the addition of cooking and music classes later in the year.

The spring slate of art classes will be held from 9:30 a.m. to noon on the following Fridays at St. Michael’s Episcopal Church at 12415 Cantrell Road in Little Rock: Feb. 24, March 10, May 12 and June 16.

The only art workshop offered outside Little Rock will be held from 9:30 a.m. to noon April 20 at the Encompass Health Rehabilitation Hospital at 1201 Fleming Ave. in Jonesboro.

Research has shown that drawing or painting may help Parkinson’s patients improve their motor skills, and patients have reported that it helps them control their tremors. The art classes are offered in partnership with Arts Integration Services of Little Rock, with instructor Elly Bates guiding participants as they experiment with different mediums while focused on a theme such as music or light

Meanwhile, patients and caretakers who want to learn culinary skills while avoiding safety hazards that can result from tremors or other Parkinson’s complications will meet from 10 a.m. to noon Feb. 16 in the Culinary Medicine Kitchen on the ground floor of the UAMS Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging.

Alyssa Frisby, a registered dietician at UAMS, and Jasmine D. Washington, a food preparation supervisor in the UAMS Department of Nutrition Services, lead the cooking classes. Participants create and then enjoy a healthy meal using the kitchen’s induction cooktops and tools, and then sit down together to enjoy the meal.

The music workshops for patients with neurodegenerative disorders, led by Patty Oeste, take place from noon to 12:30 p.m. on March 1 and 15, April 5 and 19, May 3 and 17, and June 7 and 21 in Room G1180-1190 in the Institute on Aging.

Like the art workshops, the music workshops are held in collaboration with Arts Integration Services. They address cognitive, physical and emotional needs of patients, and are designed to teach participants how the voice works, and how to exercise the vocal apparatus and practice breath control.

Participants are encouraged to attend as many of the various workshops as they wish. They must register first by contacting Suzanne Dhall, DrPH, at or by calling or texting her at 602-635-0739.

Parkinson’s is a progressive nervous system disorder affecting dopamine-producing areas in the brain.  It is the second most common neurodegenerative disease in the United States and affects about 6,500 people in Arkansas. Other degenerative disorders include amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), which affects motor neurons of the spinal cord; Huntington’s disease, an inherited condition in which nerve cells break down over time, causing movement, cognitive and psychiatric symptoms; Lewy body dementia, which is characterized by dementia, parkinsonism and fluctuations in attention and alertness; and progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) and corticobasal degeneration (CBD), two rare causes of parkinsonism.

In addition to being a Parkinson Foundation Comprehensive Care Center, the UAMS Movement Disorders Clinic is also a Huntington Disease Center of Excellence and a CurePSP Center of Care.

The art classes are made possible through a donation to the UAMS Parkinson’s Disease Fund from Barbara and David Hogg of El Dorado. The music classes are funded by a UAMS Chancellor’s Grant to the Department of Neurology.


UAMS is the state’s only health sciences university, with colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Professions and Public Health; a graduate school; a hospital; a main campus in Little Rock; a Northwest Arkansas regional campus in Fayetteville; a statewide network of regional campuses; and eight institutes: the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, Psychiatric Research Institute, Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging, Translational Research Institute, Institute for Digital Health & Innovation and the Institute for Community Health Innovation. UAMS includes UAMS Health, a statewide health system that encompasses all of UAMS’ clinical enterprise. UAMS is the only adult Level 1 trauma center in the state. UAMS has 3,275 students, 890 medical residents and fellows, and five dental residents. It is the state’s largest public employer with more than 12,000 employees, including 1,200 physicians who provide care to patients at UAMS, its regional campuses, Arkansas Children’s, the VA Medical Center and Baptist Health. Visit or Find us on Facebook, X (formerly Twitter), YouTube or Instagram.