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Center for Creative Works finds Success in Remote Supports

CCW Artist Dave Shmuckler shows off his home workstation to CCW instructor Cliff WardOver the past month, the Center for Creative Works (CCW), a program of Resources for Human Development, has successfully implemented remote support technology with glowing results. The Center for Creative Works is a Montgomery County-based organization that develops creative work potential and cultural identity for people with intellectual disabilities. Creative Works combines supported studio art development with work opportunities-including supported employment options – and community programming. Participants learn and work in drawing and painting, printmaking, ceramics, woodworking, sculpture, textiles, design, music, and other media.

Although CCW’s doors have closed in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, their programs are thriving through the use of remote supports. CCW has been working with 36 individuals on a regularly scheduled basis to facilitate community participation supports while some individuals are still receiving supported employment.

CCW has been working to ensure participants are given the community participation and creative outlets they desire. CCW Director Lori Bartol says the organization has begun select online sessions that connect two participants with one instructor, allowing the individuals to interact with one another while receiving support. Some sessions have brought in outside friends and community members to chat with participants at the participant’s discretion. CCW has seen participants truly embracing the online format. Many sessions span over several hours and participants stay fully engaged throughout. “In fact, our teachers remark that many individuals could stay on much longer than their scheduled sessions,” says Bartol.

The organization’s commitment to fostering creative pursuits has brought in art and music instructors for online sessions. Participants have the option to join a weekly national zoom meeting of supported art studios led by Summertime Gallery in New York City. Three CCW artists are connecting with art collectors to sell their work. 

Mary Bevlock (top left) works with CCW instructor Samantha Mitchell (top right) and ArtYard, NY Gallery Director Lucinda Warchol (bottom)CCW artist Mary Bevlock is using this time to take commissions and has lined up nine projects from paying clients. Bevlock has been a practicing professional artist since 2010. Over the past decade, she has given talks to students at several universities and art schools. She has also taken on the title of teacher with CCW’s Teacher Corps program. Bevlock continues to work on her art from home and network with gallery directors and curators across the country. 

On top of career pursuits, CCW participants and instructors are using this time to improve avenues of creativity by setting up home studios, engaging in movement sessions, reading aloud, and building skills. CCW will continue to track the long-term effect of these developments. “We have been really impressed by how much some of our participants have taken to this remote format,” Says Bartol, “It's been incredible to watch.”

Check out the Center for Creative Works Instagram page to view work by CCW artists.