Anoka County Government Center hosts first Art Speaks display

The Anoka County Government Center for the first time last week hosted an exhibit displaying the work of Art Speaks artists.

Amy Gibb’s art work was also on display. “It was really awesome because I could do all kinds of designs,” she said about her painting. Photo by Elyse Kaner

Amy Gibb’s art work was also on display. “It was really awesome because I could do all kinds of designs,” she said about her painting. Photo by Elyse Kaner

The Art Speaks program, under the umbrella of Rise, Inc., provides people with disabilities opportunities to learn, experience and share in the creative process through art.

Disabilities range from severe physical, developmental and traumatic brain injuries to emotional disabilities.

“It’s important because it gives participants a chance to really feel like artists,” Danelle Griner, Arts Speaks director and founder, said about the program.

“A lot of them are really talented and can make art. Many times they get overlooked. Art Speaks creates an opportunity for them to be seen and have their voice.”

Creating art also promotes their problem-solving and it develops decision-making skills, according to Griner.

About 120 participants now rotate through the art classes.

Amy Gibbs was one of 18 artists whose work was on display. Her painting in blues, turquoises, oranges and yellows is a shape and line design.

“It was really awesome because I could do all kinds of designs,” Gibbs said at an artists’ reception April 24 in the government center’s atrium.

Artist Nick Brown described his piece of curved and square shapes as a roller coaster of feelings.

“It’s fun,” he said. “I have a passion to do this.”

The Cummins Foundation, Cummins Power Generation Business Unit and VSA Minnesota are Art Speaks program supporters.

Cummins has some of the artists’ pieces hanging in its headquarters and in other company buildings.

“It just pops. There’s always such bright colors,” said Diane Peterson, Cummins corporate responsibility leader.

People purchase Art Speaks works, said Beth DePoint, Rise’s director of public relations.

“It validates that they are artists,” she said.

Art Speaks creative pieces can be seen at Anoka County license centers in Coon Rapids, Anoka, Ham Lake, Columbia Heights and Blaine.

The classes meet once a week throughout the year for an hour at six Twin Cities locations.

The Anoka County Government Center Art Speaks exhibit took place April 17-27.

Art Speaks artists display their work in public, private and at corporate sites throughout the Twin Cities area.

Posters and note cards featuring their creative work are available for a minimal donation. Proceeds support the Art Speaks program.

Rise, Inc., is a private, nonprofit organization, based in Spring Lake Park, offering person-centered planning, vocational training, job placement and employment and housing support services to enable people to work in the community and to contribute to society.

For more information on Rise, visit www.rise.org or call 763-786-8334.

For more information on the Art Speaks program, visit www.artspeaks.org.

Elyse Kaner is at elyse.kaner@ecm-inc.com


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