When you ask Tommie Lindell what she likes best about Creating Hope Arts, she smiles and says, “It’s where I found my spark for being an artist again.”
Lindell is an artist and a writer and has autism spectrum disorder. She, along with 10 other artists with developmental differences, work under the direction of in-house artist Jennifer Diehl at Creating Hope Arts in Morristown.
An exhibit of their work will be on display at The Gallery at Towngate in Wheeling. An opening reception takes place from 6-8 p.m. Friday. Guests can meet the artists, learn more about Creating Hope Arts and enjoy refreshments. Admission is free. The exhibit continues through Nov. 21.
The Gallery at Towngate is open 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday and during all Towngate Theatre events.
Creating Hope Arts provides an array of creative opportunities where unique talent can flourish while cultivating pride, confidence and independence as an artist.
“Mostly all of our art is positive and uplifting. So many of our clients are told they can’t or never will because of their disabilities,” Diehl said. “Through our art we just don’t paint; we listen to our clients. We adjust and help them stay positive, confident and inspire them to overcome anything thrown their way in life … not just art.”
Tommie uses her creativity to inspire others not only through her visual art but also her writing. Lindell has written a series of stories called “The Citizens of Happy Town.” All the characters in Happy Town are “Bee’nts” (half bee, half ant) and each one has unique skills and abilities. Their primary mission? To be kind and friendly and to teach people to do the same.
“She is a great writer,” Diehl said. “She has a ton of stories. She brings them in and reads them to our other artists.”
Lindell has also created and illustrated several characters from her stories. Jennifer said they are in the process of making life-size, standup cutouts for the characters to line the halls of Creating Hope Arts. They also hope to invite school groups to visit for story time as part of their community outreach program.
Creating Hope Arts also makes custom t-shirts and utilizes its wood shop to create custom wooden signs for local schools, businesses and residents.
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