Brighton (CBS Detroit) – Studio West Gallery in Brighton opened in 2011. Their mission is to showcase artists with disabilities and provide participants the opportunity to express artistic skills by producing artwork, some of which will be displayed and offered for sale at Studio West.

Painting, drawing, ceramics and fiber arts are just a few of the mediums being displayed. But more importantly, Artisan Corner shines the light on some very special artists.

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“The mission of Work Skills is to optimize potential,” states Tina Jackson, President, and CEO of Work Skills Corporation. “Art is very therapeutic and it allows our participants creative expression as well as the opportunity to earn income.”

“When I look into the eyes of our participants, I see joy,” Julie Smith, Development Director Work Skills Foundation tells us. “I see that they have a purpose.”

Adds Michelle Acevedo, Creative Arts Director for Artisan Corner, “The common language is art, and everybody speaks that language. When they are allowed to tell their story, they create some incredible pieces of work. When they see someone take interest in that work, there’s a great deal of pride and you can see the joy on their faces. Also, they get a paycheck, which is a plus!”

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“If you could measure them from the point that they come into the point where they are creating these beautiful pieces of work, it’s truly night and day” says Anita Gibson, Vice President of Work Skills Corporation. “Everybody can do something, and the folks that come to us have an individualized plan and we look at ‘what do you like to do, what are you good at doing’ rather than what can’t you do or what have you been unsuccessful at.”

“The mission statement for the gallery is ‘The Home of Art With a Heart’, there’s nothing like this in the community here” adds Studio Supervisor Lauren Rene Donahue, “It’s so incredible what we’re doing here and the lives that we’re changing.”


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