Craft fair highlights disabled artists’ works

Meet the East Portland artist who Arnold Schwarzenegger said drew a ‘fantastic picture’ of him as The Terminator … and learn about the organization that helps artists like him succeed …

Crafts of all kinds – on display, and for sale, at the Inclusion Inc. Art Fair.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Just because an individual has developmental disabilities doesn’t mean he or she isn’t creative. Not long ago, Inclusion Inc. held an art show and sale, seven blocks west of their offices at 3608 SE Powell Boulevard, at Vino Vixens, also on Powell.

“This is our fifth annual Art Fair,” observed the organization’s director, Howard Miller. “In past years, we held it in our office. But, since we’re all about ‘inclusion’ – getting our customers out into their community – a what better place to do that, than here at Vino Vixens, who were kind enough to host our event.”

The Director of Inclusion Inc., Howard Miller, says he hopes folks consider their customers’ crafts and art for gifts.

Miller said Inclusion Inc. is a “support services brokerage” that helps people with developmental disabilities look for and obtain “supports” (like respite care and skills training), and also helps them find people who provide these supports (qualified providers and agencies).

“We provide ‘personal agents’ for these customers,” Miller pointed out. “Many of the artists here have our personal agents that help them plan their lives by putting together an individual support plan. Once that plan is developed, the personal agent will help them find people to help them get jobs, learn to cook, and take care of themselves.”

Crafts and artwork of all kinds were on display in the shop’s meeting and side rooms.

John Kelting says you can see (and purchase) his artwork online at his website: CLICK HERE to visit it.

One of the artists we met there was painter John Kelting. “I’ve been doing this since I was in eighth grade. I do this for a living.”

Two famous people have bought his paintings – one of them California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Kelting’s hero for many years has been “The Terminator”; in fact, his very first drawing at the Metropolitan Learning Center in Portland was of Schwarzenegger, playing that cinema role.

This is the pencil drawing of Kelting’s that Arnold Schwarzenegger remarked was a “fantastic picture”, which he added to his collection.

“Arnold says he really likes my art,” Kelting said. “He likes the drawings that I’ve done. I was so excited when I heard he liked what I do, I almost had a heart attack. I’m glad people like my art.”

To learn more about Inclusion Inc., visit their website: CLICK HERE. Or, call their office at (503) 232-2289. Many of their customers have art and craft items for sale – any one of which would make a great Valentines Day gift.

© 2010 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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