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SNAP students strive for independence
Kim Wing is painting a flower. She plays with different colors to see which ones work well together. She tries the different sized brushes, bleeds the colors together. She shows the picture to her instructor Bonne Smith.
I was thinking place mats, Wing says.
Wing, after all, is not just painting a flower to paint a flower. Shes painting in the hopes that her art eventually will turn a profit.
Wing is one of the students enrolled in Enterprize, an artisan project conducted by Special Needs Advocacy Parents (SNAP) for Clallam County Health and Human Services.
The program stems from another program, Voyagers, that taught art as well as science. The participants couldnt have cared less about the science but they loved painting, sculpting pottery and working with photography.
SNAPs mission is twofold. It is a support network for developmentally disabled individuals and their families and it strives to enhance participants independence and whats more independent than creating your own business?
Enterprize was born out of the next step of the learning process, becoming an artisan. They had to have another place to go, Smith said. What we hope that Enterprize will do is provide them with the opportunity to be an entrepreneur with art.
Take Chris Millar for example. Millar has been working with stained glass and copper wire to create mosaic artworks. His latest is a picture of a Sequim cactus. Millar is planning to set up a Web site displaying his work. When asked how hed feel if he sold a piece, Millar said, I havent sold any yet, but yeah, itd be cool.
Millar is ahead of the game. Many of Enterprizes students are still honing their crafts, including Garet Bonham, a photographer. Bonham says his favorite things to photograph are animals, birds especially. Now hes learning how to use the computer program Photoshop to manipulate and sharpen his images.
According to Smith, not only is it a matter of building independence, but confidence as well.
I had one of my students who felt like he couldnt do anything right, that his art wasnt anything at all that was acceptable, and hes turned out some incredible pieces, Smith said, recalling how surprised and delighted the man became when she told him how wonderful his artwork was.
I think what we have are a lot of people with developmental disabilities that have been shuffled around a lot in their lives, especially the ones that live in the group homes. By participating in our programs, theyre able to get this worthiness of Yeah, you deserve the same as everybody else in our community. Theres a huge amount of confidence gained, Smith said.
SNAP will have a booth at the Lavender Festival this year where they will sell handmade pottery magnets and hanging flower pots, as well as postcards with paintings made by SNAP students.
To be part of the community means that youre included in the community, but that also means that you understand what inclusion is. Our participants have to be as accepting of people in the community as they can be, Smith said.