A Fresh Start for Art

Diane wanted to paint a different picture of what could be.

After struggling to find what she was looking for in her former day program, Diane came to Little City in 2023 and found a fresh start with a little art.

Diane’s infectious smile and outgoing personality helped her make friends at Little City right away and the variety of options – from horticulture to art and even choir – energized her to pursue interests that were unavailable to her previously. It did not take long for her to gravitate to the Center for the Arts.

“Diane has gone through difficult things in the past and I think she finds comfort in her art and writing. It is a way she can express herself,” said Jenny Boland, Business & Program Development Manager at Little City. “Even though she has been here less than a year, she has already found a perfect fit.”

Diane can now grow with the Center for the Arts, which has just started ramping up programming after a yearslong closure due to COVID. She is one of the first artists to take part in the new Emerging Artists class that serves as a bridge between casual or beginner artists and Little City’s more prominent artists who have been featured in exhibits or have sold their work.

Diane’s clear talent made her a perfect candidate for the new class and gives her a path to work toward her goal of ultimately exhibiting or selling her art.

The Emerging Artists class is not the only new feature of the reimagined Center for the Arts. As a retail concept takes shape in the newly renovated studio in 2024, Diane and all participants will have the opportunity to develop vocational skills such as providing customer service to gallery visitors. They can also learn web skills for the digital store, inventory management, and other skills that can help prepare them for community-based employment.

The Center serves as an important connection to the greater community. A recently awarded grant will allow the Center to receive a needed exterior makeover, resulting in a modernized style that will look more welcoming to the many people who pass by our campus daily. The gallery also serves as a welcoming way to introduce first-time visitors to allLittle City offers.

Eventually, the Center could even host art classes for community-based families to participate in together.

Shawna Pearson, Director of Employment & Innovation Services at Little City, said the possibilities are as endless as a blank canvas when it comes to the Center’s future.

“There is so much we can explore and do here to help our participants learn valuable skills and create an enriching social experience where they can express themselves,” Shawna said. “We are excited to connect this unique part of Little City that truly sets us apart to the greater community.”

The possibilities are also endless for artists like Diane, who in a short eight months at Little City has already emerged as a special talent.