For the fifth consecutive year, Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont (NC) is teaming up with the Charlotte Art League (CAL) to showcase the work of artists from the Goodwill’s Employment Skills Training program. This year’s ‘Color My Dreams’ exhibit, open daily through March 30, showcases more than 70 pieces of art including drawings, paintings and mosaics created by individuals with intellectual, physical and other disabilities.
Volunteers from CAL facilitate the art classes. Outreach director Sandra Gray, who teaches the majority of Goodwill’s art sessions, says this creative expression reinforces skills that are critical to success in today’s workforce.
“Students not only learn to take directions but they learn to use those directions to produce something of their own,” she says. “They develop dexterity and skills in handling the materials effectively, and they learn new vocabulary.”
Diane Weekley, director of vocational services for the Charlotte Goodwill, agrees, noting, “Our students look forward to this show every year. Exploring art helps these students build confidence and life skills that will help them in their future jobs and in becoming independent.”
The exhibit kicked off on March 2 with a reception that allowed the artists to practice and hone their communication skills. All artwork featured in the exhibit is available for sale, with 80 percent of the proceeds going directly to the artist.
“The exhibit gives them the confidence to approach the public and talk about their art,” Gray concluded. “They gain the self-esteem of seeing the works admired and purchased by the public. Each student who has a painting exhibited can say, ‘I am an artist.’ Each student who sells a painting can say, ‘I am a professional artist.’”