PEOPLE HELPING PEOPLE: Hi-Hope Service Center – Adults with a Passion for Art

Susan Boland Butts

Susan Boland Butts

Are you a painter, photographer, or multi-media artist? If so, you will find some kindred spirits at the Hi-Hope Service Center.

The Center supports adults with developmental disabilities by building and sustaining individual independence. A primary goal is to offer opportunities for adults supported at Hi-Hope to make meaningful community connections. We are currently seeking artists who are willing to share their passion for creativity with another adult with a similar enthusiasm.

Recently, Pat Gagne, a photographer located in Johns Creek, shared her studio with Aaron. Accessing professional equipment and Pat’s expertise, Aaron had the opportunity to create a work of art. Pat provided Aaron with a variety of props from which to choose; once he made his selections, Aaron artistically arranged candlesticks, books and a floral arrangement. Pat showed Aaron how to position and operate the camera and further, how to use the computer to size and insert an electronic signature on his photograph. Aaron cannot stop talking about this experience and is anxious to continue his learning.

Max Grimm, a local painter, partnered with Carl, Jennifer, Amanda, Lisa and Jena to harness their interest and skills in painting to create a one-of-a- kind chest of drawers. They designed a combination of trees, flowers, angels and a sunburst on a royal blue background and then spent several days painting the design.

A long time volunteer at Hi-Hope, Hiroko Nishiguchi, has spent countless hours over the last 8 years to open up the field of “art” to adults at Hi-Hope. A firm believer in the premise that each individual has an artistic eye, she has taken “found items” and encouraged adults at Hi-Hope to unleash their creativity. Lawrence, using a cardboard box grid insert and lovely shades of mohair, created an abstract multicolored piece of art.

These “community connections” not only add meaning to the lives of adults with developmental disabilities, they give an opportunity for them to add value to our communities. Our neighborhoods and cities are stronger and richer when the gifts of all of its members can be woven into the social fabric of the community.

Each of these works of art will be auctioned at Hi-Hope’s Spring Soiree on March 21 at 7pm to be held at 550 Trackside at 550 N. Clayton Street in Lawrenceville. Funds raised from the event will be used to sustain the weekday, employment and residential supports offered to adults with developmental disabilities. For details, please go to www.hihopecenter.org.

If you are an artist and are interested in opening your studio or volunteering at the center to share your passion with an interested adult, please contact Christina Pratt at cpratt@hihopecenter.org, or at 770-963-8694, ext 116.

Susan Boland Butts is executive director of the Hi-Hope Service Center.

People Helping People is a publication of the Gwinnett Coalition for Health & Human Services.

For more information contact Ellen Gerstein - ellen@gwinnettcoalition.org or at 770-995-3339.