Disabled people are often ignored, undervalued, or looked down upon in our society.
Fortunately, Imagine Art is working to change that with their ministry for disabled artists.
Using God’s leadership, this group works to turn disabled artists into community leaders.
Imagine Art has a very specific goal: to transform the lives of disabled artists and the systems around them, all for the glory of God.
Specifically, they aim to connect with artists with intellectual development disabilities and motivate them to become leaders within their communities.
The group has also attracted artists without disabilities, and even non-artists, although artists with disabilities are the true leaders of this community.
Through their ministry, Imagine Art hopes they can inspire these artists to bring changes to the systems which have traditionally served them.
The organization was founded by Debbie Kizer in 2001 following a mental illness diagnosis which greatly affected her life. By trusting Christ in her recovery, she was led to start this group which would have Christ lift up others with disabilities.
Kizer had been working in the disability community for years prior to her diagnosis, providing support and guidance in a variety of ways, as she continues to do so now through Imagine Art.
The group holds the belief that “every life is a work of art” and gives all artists equal access to resources, support, and artistic freedom, transforming them through God into leaders.
“Persons who were least likely to succeed are now being transformed into leaders of creative place,” Imagine Art’s website explains.
Along with artistic support, Imagine Art offers a variety of other support services to assist the community.
One such service comes in the form of Medicaid Waivers designed to help disabled artists find long-term care and living situations including in-home care, group homes, or host/foster homes.
In order to deliver this service, Imagine Art has partnered with over 50 different providers, giving their clients options to best suit their needs.
They also offer a program called Training 4 Transformation where participants are trained to lead support groups where other members can share their thoughts and feelings with each other to receive the support they need.
Imagine Art also has a project called Live + Make, which is an affordable housing neighborhood for artists both with and without disabilities. This serves people who may be struggling with homelessness or institutional care.
Within this affordable housing community are services for the residents such as “long-term care, employment services and a public kitchen,” according to the Imagine Art website, making it a wonderful service for disabled people or those struggling to make ends meet.
If you’re interested in connecting more with the members of this community, you can meet the artists and read their biographies on the Imagine Art website.
If you would like to support these artists, you can also buy their art by purchasing original pieces or ordering copies in the form of prints, clothing, accessories, and other products.
Other ways of supporting Imagine Art and their community is by donating through their website, or if you live near Austin, Texas, you can fill out a volunteer application to become directly involved with their work.