Art With Pur­pose

Life Styles clients show work at 211 Cafe

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - BENTONVILLE - — MIZZY OSBORN SPE­CIAL TO WHAT’S UP!

Since the ex­pan­sion of Life Styles Inc.’s Col­lege for Liv­ing in 2006, many of the clients now have a new ti­tle: artist. Serv­ing in­di­vid­u­als with dis­abil­i­ties, Life Styles and its Col­lege for Liv­ing have been of­fer­ing this al­ter­na­tive medium as a way for clients to com­mu­ni­cate. Di­rec­tors and teach­ers in the or­ga­ni­za­tion have no­ticed many pos­i­tive out­comes as clients dis­cover ways to com­mu­ni­cate that were not as achiev­able be­fore tak­ing the art classes.

In a part­ner­ship with Life Styles, 211 Cafe in Ben­tonville and the ArtIn­fu­sion pro­gram at Crys­tal Bridges Mu­seum of Amer­i­can Art, an ex­hi­bi­tion of work cre­ated through the art pro­gram will be on dis­play at 211 Cafe through the end of Au­gust with an artists’ re­cep­tion on Thurs­day.

“We’re al­ways here to push them to try dif­fer­ent things, and not ev­ery art­work is go­ing to turn out awe­some,” says Melissa Love, an art in­struc­tor at Life Styles. “We have some [clients] who come in five days a week. It’s un­re­al­is­tic for any artist to cre­ate some­thing awe­some ev­ery time. So, we talk about that a lot. You know we’re just ex­plor­ing and here to work on dif­fer­ent things, and I think every­one has sev­eral things they are proud of — and we love to show them to the com­mu­nity.”

As with all artists, sub­jects por­trayed in an art­work vary from client to client, Love shares, be it emo­tions and feel­ings, some­thing cool the client is in­ter­ested in, or even an as­sign­ment-based work. In­spi­ra­tion comes from ev­ery­where. Each client can pick his own sched­ule to at­tend classes as fre­quent or spo­radic as he chooses, which fits the ac­com­mo­dat­ing at­mos­phere Life Styles seeks and pro­motes.

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