We give people with developmental disabilities the opportunity to create art and the results are just incredible.
Like all artists everywhere, it’s the process of creating the art that fascinates them. They have something to say and have their own unique way to express themselves in colours, shapes and forms. At some point, the artist deems the piece complete and there is a chance that it may be selected for exhibition or sale. This is where you come in. By viewing their art you complete the artistic process, connecting artist and audience. When you react to the art, or when you buy the art, you are validating the artist.
Great things happen when you give a person freedom of expression.
There are no boundaries at the Nina Haggerty Center. “We are all about saying yes,” says Wendy Hollo, Executive Director. “We can always figure out the how later.” This means the Nina Haggerty Center is one of the few places where people with developmental disabilities have complete freedom of expression, perhaps for the first time in their lives. They are not told what to do or how to do it. If their art doesn’t fit any preconceived definition of what constitutes art, we widen the definition. It all has value and it all tells us something about the artist who created the piece from nothing.
“That’s what the Nina Haggerty Center is all about,” says Wendy. “We give people with developmental disabilities the opportunity to create art and the results are just incredible. Every day we have an explosion of creativity that not only does wonders for the artists, it leads to the creation of some very interesting original art. Some label it disability art, but it is far more accurate to just call it art.”
The artists can’t say enough about the support they receive. “Sometimes I ask myself if I should try going somewhere else during the day,” says artist Leona, a member of the collective since 2003. “But I just laugh at myself and say ‘no way!’ I like it here way too much. When I make art, I block everything out.”