Ten Year Pin
Virtual Exhibition - April 2020
Virtual First Friday - April 3
Meet the Artists Virtually - April 17
A little over a decade ago we met two young women - Nicole and Allie. They were best friends at Kennedy High School here in Denver. Shortly after, we had another young woman come to the Gallery for an internship through Skyland Community High School. Brittany was very shy and by her own admission she almost did not come back after her interview. About the same time, a young man named AJ started coming to us one day a week with a paraprofessional from Lincoln High School in tow.
Each of these young people had an interest in art and in getting out of school. Nicole loved dragons and dinosaurs, Allie loved color and pattern, Brittany came with an interest in her African heritage and did a project on the Yoruba people of Africa, and AJ drew fantastic cityscapes featuring a character affectionately known as Lightbulb head dude.
When each of them finished their public school education we did not expect to see them again. We were wrong. In fact, when they all kept showing up even after their schooling was finished we realized there was a huge hole for young people with disabilities transitioning from high school to the adult world. People with disabilities are unemployed at a rate of nearly 70%. By spending time with these four amazing artists we realized as an organization we had an opportunity to support each of them in their artistic pursuits.
It is a rare thing for anyone to be associated with a nonprofit organization. It is a rarer thing still for a nonprofit to respond to the needs of their client base quite the way we did. After realizing the disability each of these artists has is actually less impactful than the fact they struggle economically. As an organization, we rewrote our mission and changed how we go about the work we do.
This show more than any other is the core of what we do. Providing economic opportunity through the arts for people with disabilities. We did not want a now and then show as we are mostly focused on the now. Each artist has created new work for this show and we are thrilled with the results.