Art Enables is the only studio of its kind in America’s capital city. It is a structured program with four full-time staff and a changing contingent of volunteers and interns. Artists, selected on the basis of enthusiasm and commitment, come to the studio two or three days a week. They share studio equipment and supplies but work independently. The artists also produce potlucks: limited edition gift items born of experimentation or donations of unconventional materials. The staff facilitate the process but do not teach.
Art Enables was launched to prepare adults with disabilities for arts related jobs in the community. The snag came early on when it became evident that no-one coming into the programme wanted to leave. They all wanted to continue to make art. Thus the Art Enables Studio and Gallery was born, a venue where emerging adult artists with developmental and / or mental disabilities receive the support they need to build careers as professional artists.
Artists at Art Enables cope with a variety of disabilities. What they have in common is a talent for telling their stories in visual images and the discipline to work hard at their art. The best work by each artist is selected for exhibit and sale in gallery shows, at outside venues and on the website. Artists receive 60% of revenue from sales of their work and have established a loyal fan base.