is creating an art project to include individuals with disabilities

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With $5 a month, you help maintain the gathering of information necessary to bring attention to services and healthy life programs for people with disabilities in Greenville SC.
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$10 a month enables the time commitment to explore and discover people across the Greenville area, living on the margins, who might be directed to programs and services available for persons with disabilities.
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This is where the money goes. Fuel, promotional printing, postage, signage, banners, fees for attending related local community forums and events, and other unforeseen expenses along the way. Outreach demands these basic costs, but when you see the light switch on and people learn they have talent that can open doors for them, you know you've made an impact.




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The true artist can’t help but create. It’s not a lifestyle choice or a hobby; it’s not necessarily even something he or she finds particularly pleasurable. Instead, there’s urgency, a relentless drive, a compulsion that cannot be ignored or denied, an innate creativity that demands to be expressed.

Authentic artistry is not contained by lack of media, materials or training. Nor does it exclude people with disabilities. These artists – sometimes to their own bewilderment – continue to draw, paint and create with instinctive, unbridled purpose.

Similarly, art therapy is usually offered as a group activity, with blocks of time devoted, perhaps, to sketching, then painting, followed by work in clay, the study of music or forms of dance, movement or performance, with the goal of helping participants improve their social engagement skills. Yet drawing or painting undertaken individually – in solitude rather than as part of a structured class or program in a care facility – is clearly a deliberate choice. Through his or her choice of creative expression, the artist finds personal sanctuary.

These artists should be nurtured and supported as much as possible, and supplied with materials to keep creating. That is the foundation of Art & Inclusion.

Art & Inclusion is a social project that searches for, finds, meets, encourages and assists adults with developmental disabilities who have remarkable, natural skill for making art, especially drawing or painting.

Art & Inclusion works to provide artistic development, if needed, stage exhibitions, and, in some cases, promote and sell these artists’ work.

My name is Joel Wilkinson. I am a working artist, art dealer, recent cancer survivor, and independent ally and advocate for people with disabilities, especially intellectual and developmental disabilities.

My interest in these individuals and this cause is personal and, literally, inborn. My twin brother was born with severe disabilities, a condition so disabling he was unable to stand, speak, understand or engage. As a result, I never got to know him. I’ve felt that loss my entire life.

As an artist, my own work is increasingly informed by a lifelong curiosity about disability and its causes.

As an art dealer, I promote, exhibit and sell artwork by a select group of recognized professional artists in printmaking, drawing, collage, mixed media, and painting, with a focus on works on paper. I engage with each artist in order to best understand and represent his or her unique talents. From an art gallery in my home, I host exhibitions, receptions and open house events for these artists. My business is personal – and successful.

As a recent cancer survivor, I’ve seen firsthand how health issues can shift one’s outlook and limit one’s capacity for interactions, an insight that has intensified my interest in artists with disabilities.

As an ally and advocate, I find and assist overlooked adults with developmental disabilities who are consumed by the urge to make art. Not studied artists. Not established artists. Rather, remarkable, natural artists who have a hunger to create more, and no desire to stop.

Artworks by adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities are too often overlooked and virtually always undervalued. In my position, finding and exhibiting work by artists with disabilities allows me to share information about community resources for persons with disabilities.

For the disability population as well as the general public, art becomes the connector.

I will be posting frequent progress and insights here. As this project absorbs the bulk of my time, tiers are straightforward.
Thank you.

Recent posts by JoelWilkinson

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