In partnership with Happymess Art Studios, Chapel Hill nonprofit Extraordinary Ventures begins its weekly “Extraordinary Artists” classes tonight.
The classes function as a place for people with developmental challenges to express themselves through art while also providing an art history teaching component.
“It’s another great way for our folks to have a social outlet and really enjoy art,” said Cyndi Whisnant, events director at Extraordinary Ventures.
Whisnant helps manage the 40 individuals the organization works with. She said the events the nonprofit facilitates provide an excellent opportunity for adults with autism to explore passions, find employment and interact with the world in a nonthreatening way.
“Some people are hesitant to interact with people who have disabilities,” Whisnant said. “When they see what these men and women can do, it really opens up discussion and takes some of the fear out of interaction.”
Extraordinary Ventures’ classes were made possible through a grant received from the Orange County Arts Commission, which helps nonprofit organizations collaborate with area art studios and galleries.
“We’re trying to provide arts experiences to people who probably wouldn’t get to have them otherwise,” said Happymess Art Studios owner Holly Phelan.
Phelan said Happymess has been expanding its community outreach to create more opportunities in the arts and that providing for these groups has been rewarding and fun.