SURREY â€” Dozens of people were in attendance at a special art show and sale at Community Living Society Surrey Access Centre on Oct. 24.
Among them were artists, society directors and MLAs Amrik Virk and Marvin Hunt, along with Parliamentary Secretary for Accessibility Linda Larson.
Local artists were showcasing and selling glassware, jewelry, pottery, paintings and more, in differing styles and mediums. But what did they all have in common?
Theyâ€™re all artists with developmental disabilities involved in the Community Living Societyâ€™s two social enterprises, Studio 73 and Pottery Works. The program, which sets up residents of Community Living with a working studio stocked with supplies, helps artists learn independence skills and a way to make money creatively.
â€œThis is the first year that weâ€™re having a community inclusion month celebration,â€ said Elke Tilgner, director of community inclusion at the Community Living Society. She also noted that the pottery studio has been running for the past 16 years.
â€œWe thought weâ€™d take the opportunity to get all the artists in one space and show it off,â€ she said. Tilgner went on to say that the program helps give the artists opportunities to be self-employed.
â€œWe have individuals that want employment but they may not necessarily want to work the typical nine-to-five employment, and who realize that they have an artistic skill and are trying to be as self-sufficient as possible with their sales,â€ she said. The artists receive one-third of the earnings of their sales, while some money goes back into buying supplies for the studios.
Virk, Hunt and Larson all went home with some pieces of art for themselves, as well.
â€œIâ€™m overwhelmed with the quality of the art that Iâ€™ve seen here and the people that Iâ€™ve met,â€ Larson said at the art show. â€œI know it takes a lot of work on (everyoneâ€™s) part to make these things happen, but when you look at the results, you must be thrilled.â€
Thirty-five artists in all showed off their wares at the art show.