Art With Purpose
Life Styles clients show work at 211 Cafe
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.