Chicago Tribune: The Arts of Life creates artistic community for people with, without disabilities

April 3, 2017 By anne-cauley

By Alexandra Kukulka

A studio worker and an artist sit side by side on the work bench, as the worker sketches out a dress on a scrap of paper.

The artist, who has a visual impairment, then tries to incorporate the worker’s ideas into her painting of a woman.

“Does that look good?” the artist asks.

“You could draw it a little longer, if you want, but you got it,” the worker said.

The Arts of Life North Shore Studio in Glenview is a studio for people with developmental disabilities, like autism or Down syndrome, to create art in any medium they choose. The studio helps them showcase and market their work, said Megan Harrigan, arts coordinator for the studio.

Those who come to the studio pride themselves on being professional artists who create art, poetry and music in a community of people with and without disabilities.

“Professionalism is a big part of what we do here. I think a lot of disability arts programs get interpreted as an arts and crafts recreational program. That’s not what this is. This is a professional arts studio. We just happen to have disabilities — most of us. We are first and foremost professional art makers,” said Hilary Marshall, studio manager.

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