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Hope Studios gives people with developmental disabilities creative outlets through art

Published: Mar. 25, 2022 at 5:30 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Hope Studios is a place where creativity is thriving once again. COVID-19 put the brakes on the art program run by Hope Community Resources for people who experience developmental disabilities. The program was shut down for several months. The gallery where artists sell their work was closed even longer.

“They want to be here and they’re excited to do what they’re doing,” said Hope’s Director of Community Engagement, Jenny Moore. “And the way the studio is built is that people can come in and do what they want.”

On a recent weekday, Molly Williams was working on a beading project.

“I’m always making things all the time and everything, I love it,” she said.

Willie Boles was putting the finishing touches on a large painting of a phoenix. A bird, he said, symbolizes rebirth.

“It’s all from the ashes like the sun,” he said.

Corey Gilmore was also working on a painting. Gilmore said he was told in junior high school his shaky hands would never let him be an artist.

“The art teacher at the time said, ‘He can’t paint because he doesn’t have the hand coordination,’” Gilmore said.

But Gilmore is proving them wrong.

Moore said she’s particularly glad the Hope Studios Gallery has re-opened to the public after a two-year closing due to COVID. She said there’s plenty of art for sale, but more than that, she wants the public to see how talented the artists are.

“That’s my drive is actually to have them seen as real artists because people overlook them a lot,” she said.

The gallery is located at 650 W. International Airport Road. It’s open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Moore said all of the proceeds go right back into the art program.

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