Mind, Body, Soul, and Community: How Special Needs Artists and the Community Benefit From Soul Studio
When it comes to creative outlets, participating in the arts is beneficial to everyone. From reducing stress to aiding in developing interpersonal skills, engaging in the arts can be very beneficial, especially for individuals with special needs. With this in mind, The Dresner Foundation Soul Studio—a project of Friendship Circle—came to life.
What Is Soul Studio?
Soul Studio is a place for adults with special needs to express themselves through creative exploration of the arts, while also learning a variety of vocational skills. Soul Studio artists can choose between a variety of art-making processes, including painting, ceramics, weaving, sculpture, photography, and printmaking. The goal is to continue adding different media for the artists to experiment with.
Soul Studio and Its Artists
Beyond the actual creation of art, Soul Studio artists have the opportunity to sell their work in the Soul Gallery and earn commission on the pieces they sell.
According to a study by the nonprofit organization Americans for the Arts, art has its benefits, as it:
• Assists in cognitive and physical development
• Strengthens problem-solving and critical-thinking skills
• Develops a sense of goal-setting and nurtures social skills.
Along with the commission aspect of Soul Studio, artists are able to benefit from the therapeutic aspects of art and take part in the economic cycle of their community.
Soul Studio and the Community
But it’s not just the artists who benefit from Soul Studio and the Soul Gallery; it’s the community as well. Research has shown that art—and the presence of art in society—is connected to the level of cultural and economic prosperity in communities.
According to the American Planning Association, “concentrations of cultural enterprises and creative workers in a geographic area provide a competitive edge, likely by elevating the quality of life, improving a community’s ability to attract economic activity, and creating a climate in which innovation can flourish.”
In addition to the economic benefits of fostering art and creativity in communities, art has its social impacts. Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have found that, in communities where the arts play a large role, there is more community engagement, increased child welfare, and even lower poverty rates.
“A vibrant arts community ensures that young people are not left to be raised solely in a pop culture and tabloid marketplace.” (Top 10 Reasons to Support the Arts in 2014)
From giving its artists the opportunity to discover new creative outlets and take part in the business aspect of art, to helping expand the arts in their community, Soul Studio embodies what it means to be a mutually beneficial organization.