Hamilton art studio Inside Out wants its artists with developmental disabilities to integrate with patrons.
The studio is pulling back the curtain and allowing customers to learn how their artists with developmental disabilities, or DD, work. The new program allows DD artists to teach their techniques to students and earn an hourly wage.
Six to eight teachers will lead a class based on their specialties, such as ceramics, glass and painting.
Rebecca Reed is painting a pineapple that looks like SpongeBob's house in Bikini Bottom. She says she comes up with her own art concepts but likes to throw in surprises for her instructor. "I also like surprising the man," she says. "Because when I surprise him I am surprising me in the process."
"The man" is Stephen Smith, an art coordinator who will assist the teachers during classes to ensure there aren't any hiccups.
Smith currently is preparing the students to lead their classes. He says this is an opportunity for them to show off their skills. "It's very empowering for someone with disabilities that's kind of been labeled that their whole lives to kind of take the driver's seat and teach people things," Smith says.
"I think it builds confidence," says art consultant Amanda Dennewitz. "As you've heard, a lot of them talk about being nervous. I feel that too when I try new things and I think it builds growth and I am really happy we can offer that experience."
Once training is complete, adults with developmental disabilities will lead classes with a maximum of 12 people.
Starting in July, classes are available once a month until the end of the year. More details are available on Inside Out's Facebook page.