“I’m the director of Imagine That – Kansas City. Imagine That is a creative arts program that serves adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. We have been in Kansas City since April of 2012. Imagine That is part of a larger organization called Resources for Human Development. It provides approximated 150 different human services to people in fourteen different states. They were founded in 1970. Here in Kansas City, we have an art program, community intergration program and a residential program. Currently Imagine That supports sixty individuals with various intellectual development disabilities. We employ artists here to help guide the people we support in being creative. We let them know that there are no limits to their imagination.
Our arts program works with pretty much any materials. My only rule is that we don’t set fire to anything. A lot of people lean towards painting and drawing because that is what they know and what they are comfortable with. Here, we can do screen printing, print making, sculpture and we work with clay, wood and fabric. We also work a lot with community members. We have volunteers. There is one young lady who is coming to do a collaborative quilt project. There are also two students from the art institute who are going to work on building an interactive sculpture. That will be here on display in a couple of months.
We definitely see a change in our adults even if it is just in their abilities. We have a gentleman here who has been since day one. His mom has commented on how she has seen his drawings progress. Other people that we see here, maybe they are just generally more happy. They get excited when somebody buys their art. They get excited when someone recognizes that they are an artist.
In general, while individuals are here, they are free to be themselves. We are not judgmental. We do not say that their art is not good. We let them know that if they don’t know how to do something, we can show them how to do it with the skills that they have. We don’t do art for them we let them know what they can do and then suggest to try it this way. This is what you are interested in, so let’s try