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Monday, January 30, 2023

Positively Health – Valuing the ability in disability through art


As I shared with readers in last month’s column, guiding individuals with developmental disabilities to recognize their value and grow as professional artists is the mission of the art studio Inklude, part of Little Friends’ day program for adults in Downers Grove.

A few months ago, I sat down with Nikki Bozzano, Inklude Studio Manager and Tom Pendziszewski, Vice President of Adult Day services at Little Friends, in the Downers Grove center. Here is more of my interview:

Regarding discovering one’s hidden possibilities, Tom and Nikki told me about Charles. “Charles is quite amazing,” Nikki lauded, “Charles can look at a photograph and then paint it. He has painted beautiful pictures of David Bowie, Robin Williams, and even me!”

Tom recalled, “We had a person who had a dog pass away and wanted a memory. Nikki helped one of the artists at Inklude make a ceramic dog for them using polymer clay. That was the beginning of a whole new set of possibilities. People have ordered custom-made clay dogs of all colors and markings, purchased them, and given them away for graduation and birthday gifts. This has been a wonderful way to supplement the artist’s income. We are learning to value the artist, as well as the art.” Nikki concurs, “When you see value in yourself, you see value in the things around you.”

As my visit concluded, I just couldn’t help thinking that more than just inspiring stories, these experiences may point to a lesson for everyone – that as we look past our own physical and mental limitations, shouldn’t we be able to find unforeseen capacities in each of us? Perhaps instead of allowing ourselves to be defined by things we cannot do or mistakes we have made, we should consider the possibility that qualities such as creativity, hope, joy, kindness and even forgiveness, resilience and reserves of strength are innate in each of us, waiting to be discovered – i.e., that we all possess inherent spirituality in limitless measure.

To support this incredibly engaging and empowering enterprise, to order and purchase personalized greeting cards, a bag, bowling ball art for your garden, to commission a painting or a ceramic dog, or to see some of the other artwork of Inklude, just visit their website at www.inklude.org.

And to learn more about all of Little Friends’ programs, you can visit www.littlefriendsinc.org.

Thomas (Tim) Mitchinson
Thomas (Tim) Mitchinsonhttp://www.csillinois.com
Naperville resident, Thomas (Tim) Mitchinson, writes on the relationship between thought, spirituality and health, and trends in that field. He is also the media spokesman for Christian Science in Illinois. You can contact him at illinois@compub.org.