Opportunity Enterprises’ ARTability Leaves Clients Smiling

By: Julia Rhode Last Updated: November 20, 2015

For 48 years, Opportunity Enterprises has strived to help individuals with developmental disabilities live enriched lives. OE hosted their ninth annual ARTability Show and Auction as just another way for their clients to reach their fullest potential.

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“ARTability is a wonderful event. Our clients are recognized for their talents and the pride on their faces is priceless. They are true artists at this event,” said Development Director Liz Metts.

The show featured a wide variety of canvas, ceramic, and glass artwork from over 200 clients that Opportunity Enterprises was hoping would raise around $25,000. Guests were able to attend the auction for no cost and able to bid on artwork with a simple text message. Each and every piece of artwork supports the Art Enrichment Program and artists also receive a commission from every purchase made.

“I think this is a wonderful event that is such a benefit to our clients. They all love it and it puts such great smiles on their faces,” said Lori Moulton, Vice Chair of Board at Opportunity Enterprises.

Clients participating in the art program for OE are able to either work one-on-one with an instructor or with a group of three other clients and an instructor. Classes are around an hour long and they have freedom to work on ceramics, canvas, beading, jewelry, or something as simple as coloring a picture for a friend.

“The clients come up with all the ideas and they clearly have great success in what they’re doing. It makes them feel so accomplished. They are proud of what they are doing,” said Jessica Thome, Art Instructor. “It’s pretty open, making the clients really lead the teachers in what they want to do.”

“The art program can be a calm place where clients come to relax or it can be a place where there’s lots of activity,” said Carol Loesche, Enrichment Director. “Art means a lot of different things to different people. It’s a very individual type of thing. In our art room it’s also a very social atmosphere. It gives the clients an opportunity to enjoy time with their friends.”

Friends, family, and artists were all able to see the artwork displayed at Framing Concepts in Chesterton while enjoying appetizers from Water Bird Inn and wine tasting courtesy of Running Vines.

“I love seeing everyone get all dressed up. The clients feel so important this evening and it is really all about them. Seeing their friends and their family all here is awesome,” said Art Instructor Cathy Jasinski.

“I had one lady who just kept saying that she could not do a painting. When she finished her very own, she was just so proud of herself. It’s really nice to see our clients surprise themselves with what they can do,” Jasinski continued.

Steve J. has been working on his painting of a zebra for the past two months. “I started flipping through some photos and thought I might as well try and see what I can do,” said Steve. “I call it the ‘Colorful Life of a Zebra.’ I just sat down and did it myself. It’s just been a lot of being patient. I like the art program because it’s just an expression of what I like to do.”

Whitney W. said she did her painting of a cat because she is a big animal lover and works at the animal shelter. “My favorite part of the art program is everyone coming here to see the artwork and everyone being happy to be able to take something home,” said Whitney.

With every single client beaming at the praise they received for their art, it would be hard to say this event was not a success.

Loesche said, “The clients work on this all year. They’re so excited to be here tonight. They bring their families and they’re smiling from ear to ear. It’s the highlight of their year.”