Anyone who has a creative outlet can attest to the power and emotional connection that thearts can provide. Whether you have a desire to dance, sing, play an instrument, or create visual art, you know that you feel what you create in every part of you. It is not only a form of expression, but it harnesses inner emotions, providing a catharsis.
In 2009, Blank Canvas Studios opened in St. Charles, aimed at embracing the power of art as a creative outlet. Blank Canvas Studios (BCS) operates as an art-based day program, a division of the national non-profit organizationResources for Human Development(RHD). Their program provides services to adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities, doing so through instruction and exploration in a wide array of media and celebrating their unique perspective on life and approach to the arts, as professional Outsider Artists.
Wondering what Outsider Art is? It encompasses work produced by people with a different perspective on life and approach to the arts. Through the programming and facilities provided at BCS, artists can express themselves in a variety of mediums, such as Painting, Ceramics, Printmaking, Woodworking, Fibers and Music Production, among others. With so many options to choose from, there is something available to each person’s abilities and desires.
I’ve come across Blank Canvas Studios through their involvement in community events several times. On occasion as part of their day program, the artists will visit Main Street in St. Charles and stop into my gallery to look around or to drop of posters for their upcoming events. I had the opportunity recently to visit with staff member Katie Elbert who is the Print Studio Lead and PR Team Representative at BCS. She told me they were having their 2nd Annual “Uncork your Creativity” event at the studio. According to Katie, this event will be unlike any Paint and Wine event you’ve attended. She described: “At this fundraiser, you will have the opportunity to peruse our art gallery, featuring works from our incredibly talented resident artists, and experience the creation of true Outsider Art.” Attendees have an immersive night of art, culture, and fun planned for those who attend, including creating your own painting and the opportunity to take home handcrafted ceramic platters. The event will be on July 15 from 5-8pm at their studio located at 122 Point West Blvd in St. Charles. It sounds like an incredible opportunity to interact, create, and be a part of the art. Tickets are available through their website at www.blankcanvasstudios.org.
Uncork Your Creativity at Blank Canvas Studios!
Of course this type of event sounds like an incredible interactive art event, but the additional bonus effect is that it is also a fundraising opportunity for BCS. Though they receive funding that supports much of their direct care services for the approximately 50 artists BCS currently supports from the St. Charles County area, there is always the need to supplement through donations and fundraising events. These additional funds go towards extra supplies for the
studio, or bigger ticket items that are not feasible for their month-to-month budget. These are things like a wheelchair accessible Pottery Wheel, Ballet Bars for their Dance Studio, or to bring guest speakers into the studio for classes. As I inquired for more information from BCS about their programming and how this upcoming event can benefit their artists, I received more information from both Katie Elbert and Molly Chakides, the BCS Music Producer. Together they describe the importance of the relationship they build with their artists: “Our artists come in each morning to a sea of smiles and songs being sung, with a world of possibilities laid before them. We can paint if we’re happy, we can sculpt out our rage. We scream into the microphones, and laugh into the video cameras. We learn about the science of the world around us, and why things work the way they do. Most importantly, together, we learn the importance of self-advocacy and Respect. The staff here at BCS have the joy of coming into work, and creating art with our friends all day.”
Persons interested in becoming an Artist In Residence at BCS can contact the Director of BCS, Lorraine Reeb, whose contact information can be found on their website. BCS is always looking for new staff members and volunteers to join their BCS family! Anyone who wants to be a part of an exciting art community and work with their truly inspiring artists can view all the requirements, expectations, and links to applications can be found on their website under Contacts.