Meet Shannon Mallers
What does The Arts of Life mean to Shannon and her family?
As part of The Arts of Life community, Shannon has gained friendships, pride in herself, and independence. Shannon’s family is pleased to find that at the studio “Shannon can be herself; she can express herself in a way that works for her. She’s finally come out of her shell and has become her own person”.
When asked about Shannon’s job as a professional artist, her mother Rosemarie responds, “Shannon is so proud of herself and her artwork. She tells the family everything she is working on and gave each of them an Arts of Life calendar for Christmas. She was so excited to show them February, the month that she created.”
In previous programs, Shannon always felt like a client. At The Arts of Life, she feels like a friend, a colleague, and a member of a community that is important to her. When The Arts of Life Band was the cover story of the Chicago Reader , Shannon saved a half dozen copies because she was so proud of the band members and wanted to show the article to other people.
She’s also proud of herself as an artist. Shannon, along with fellow performance members, wrote, directed and performed their first piece two years ago and her parents could not believe their eyes. Shannon’s father Tom recalls: “All the years she was in school they had to drag her on the stage for a program and she always stood with her back to the audience. We were so proud, my wife was in tears, to see her facing the audience and really being a part of the production.”
Shannon is more independent now. She feels like she has value, wants to learn more, and find more ways to be independent at the studio. She has always been very helpful and compassionate towards every person and animal she meets. One of her greatest joys is taking photos of her friends and their animals. Her family especially enjoys learning about her community through the photos she takes of everyone at The Arts of Life.
“Shannon looks forward to going to The Arts of Life every day and I can’t imagine what would have happened to her If she had to go back to a workshop”, says Rosemarie. “She always seemed so unhappy then, but we didn’t know how unhappy she was until we saw how much she changed and grew at the studio. We love her very much and are very proud of her. Thank you to everyone at The Arts of Life.”