Creative Abilities Art Studio

  • Photo of art sale booth.
  • Photo of a man painting with a brush in his teeth.
  • Photo of a woman helping another woman with art supplies.
  • Photo of a woman painting a pine cone.

About the studio

Since 2003, the Creative Abilities Art Studio in the Center for Disability Services has assisted adults with disabilities and afforded them the opportunity to create and sell their artwork during the Community Connections art therapy program. During this time, the College of Health and Human Services has sponsored and showcased exhibits by the center's day program consumers in an effort to showcase their talents and generate income.

About the artists

Center participants—some verbal, some nonverbal—use art to communicate and make their unique mark on the world. Art at the center is a positive alternative to anger or aggression and a means of coping with anxiety and sadness. For some, the rhythmic motion of painting is therapeutic. For others, the benefit comes from the physicality of molding, shaping or pounding out various materials. Artists also gain confidence and build self-esteem by displaying and selling their art on site, at various festivals and in the online store. Proceeds from sales go to recover some of the costs of materials and provide artists with spending money for outings and activities they enjoy.


Photo of Patty.In art therapy, Patty is a busy bee! She loves making books to show off her artwork with pride. Holidays are her favorite time of year as she loves decorating special holiday crafts with plenty of glitter and gems. When she paints, she takes off vigorously favoring the color green. She enjoys naming her abstract renditions of animals and holiday symbols. Despite her level of frustration when entering the art room, Patty is calm and focused by the time she leaves. Patty often mutters the word "money" to see if her art has sold. She has a love for shopping, so she thanks you for your purchases!

Photo of Latina.Latina's favorite activity at the Center for Disability Services is art therapy. Her paintings have a distinct style, with lots of color, texture, and layers of paint and embellishments. She typically chooses colors based on her mood but is drawn to pink, red and purple hues. She works quickly and with excitement, stopping to dance and shriek as she admires her artwork with a smile!

Photo of Maureen.Maureen loves to spend time in art therapy. She especially likes to paint, choosing pastels in yellows and blues and enjoys using watercolors as well. She likes the process where the paper is sprayed with water and she can squirt on various colors and watch them blend.

Photo of Deb.Deb is very passionate about art. She loves to paint and try new projects. She loves the smiles and attention she gets from others in celebration of her accomplishments as her laughter fills the air, and is always joking with staff and peers. May her artwork fill your home with laughter and brighten your day!

Photo of Tim.Tim is a fan of the arts. When he is not playing piano, he is painting. Tim is a determined artist and takes his time and is very meticulous in his work. In addition, he pays attention to detail and it shows in his work

Photo of Jimmy.Jimmy is always excited for art! Due to Jimmy's physical limitations, he paints with his mouth using an adapted brush. Jimmy chooses the colors he would like to use by mouthing yes or no to the therapist. His favorite colors include red, blue and purple hues. When painting he will often drop his brush to unveil a smile, or a burst of laughter that expresses his blissful satisfaction with his work. Through his meticulous work, Jimmy has created "rainbows", and "flowers" that he loves to share with others!

Photo of Caroline.Caroline has been making art at the center for many years. She especially enjoys painting. Caroline enjoys painting independently. When she is finished with a project, she simply smiles and says "yeah."

Photo of Lester.Lester is always one of the first individuals to come to the art room in the afternoon. When Lester is painting he is very calm and relaxed. Generally he paints with blues and greens, and as he works his anxiety seems to dissipate. Lester takes great pride in his work and is excited to share it with all of you!

Photo of Shirley.Shirley loves to try new mediums. Although her favorite activity is using beads, she also enjoys painting. She loves to listen to and sing along with music during her painting and she happily chats away with everyone during art. She likes to know what others think of her work and color choices. She does not let a visual impairment limit her art activities.

Photo of Jeff.Jeff has a large fan base that purchases most of the work he completes. His favorite color choices are reds, oranges and blues. Jeff tells us that he is "busy" and "happy" when creating his art. He loves to showcase his work even though he gets a little embarrassed when he is told how much people like his art.

Photo of Sarah.Sarah loves art! She has been making art at the center since we first began our art studio. She often paints, but loves to stamp and pound when making art. Her favorite color choices are pinks and greens. Sarah's smiles and laughter are contagious in the art room.

Our staff

The Creative Abilities Art Studio is staffed by an art therapist, interns, part time staff and volunteers.

Online store

We invite you to explore our online store which features unique artworks created by adults with disabilities. If you reside in Kalamazoo County, there is no delivery charge. We accept Visa, Mastercard and Discover.