It all started with an anonymous donation.
The result of that gift and many others is the recent opening of Beautiful Minds Art Studio for clients at Sunflower Diversified Services.
The non-profit agency serves people with intellectual disabilities and delays in central Kansas.
“The community support for this project has been overwhelming,” said Debbie McCormick, director of marketing. “The first donation got the ball rolling and now we have raised in the neighborhood of $40,000 for the studio.
“Generous Sunflower supporters realize artistic projects can be very therapeutic for people as they work with their hands to express themselves artistically. It is amazing to see their intense focus on the artwork and the personal satisfaction of a job well done.”
The first donor said “we specifically chose the art studio so clients at Sunflower can have a way to express themselves in a meaningful and creative way – something they can get their hands on and enjoy. It will be enlightening to see how the artists’ lives are enriched.
“We have been faithful donors to Sunflower for many years,” the donor added.
“We chose a charity that has enhanced the lives of special people in central Kansas for many years.”
Beautiful Minds Art Studio is located at Sunflower’s Westside Market, 5523 10th . Sunflower Recycling is in the same building.
Classes in pottery, drawing, sketching and/or painting are scheduled at the studio each weekday.
“Clients can take as many classes as they want from our talented instructor Michele Younker,” McCormick said. “It is obvious the students really enjoy the tactile sensations and using their creativity.
“In addition, if someone wants to sell their artwork, our Westside Market store is available. This, of course, is up to the artist.”
McCormick also noted that donations to the studio are accepted anytime.
“We have quite a few expenses for art supplies and maintenance of this great facility,” she said. “We trust Sunflower supporters will continue to donate to this ongoing project.”
Jon Prescott, Sunflower executive director, expressed his appreciation to everyone involved in getting the studio up and running.
“We cannot adequately express our gratitude to everyone who donated in any amount,” Prescott said. “Art students will have this setting for their creativity for years to come.
“This is what Sunflower is all about,” he continued. “We always look for innovative ways to make a real difference in people’s lives.”
Sunflower serves infants, toddlers and adults in Barton, Pawnee, Rice, Rush and Stafford counties. It is in its 54th year.
(Brad Wright concentrates on the finishing touches for his clay pot at Beautiful Minds Art Studio. Wright is a client at Sunflower Diversified Services; the studio recently opened.