Creative Arts: Fostering Self Expression, Inclusion & Empowerment in Adults with IDDs

We have a tendency to underestimate ourselves, to diminish our abilities and block ourselves off from talents we simply may not have discovered yet. We often attribute creativity to people who express themselves more openly. We say “I’m just not good at it” and assume we don’t have a creative gene in our DNA – it’s not true. 

Creativity and self expression is fostered, it is not a given ability. 

There’s a level of creativity in all of us, especially in those of us who have intellectual and/or developmental disabilities (IDDs). The creative arts provide a medium and space where they can showcase their feelings, and literally display their inner thoughts and impressions, where conventional communication through writing or speaking often presents roadblocks which may never be passable. 

Benefits of the Creative Arts for People with IDDs

  • Builds fine motor skills
  • Enhances self expression and communication
  • Promotes self-esteem and motivation to succeed
  • Facilitates choice-making
  • Fosters self-guided career and meaningful employment

When individuals with disabilities are young, there are far more programs available that foster their creativity and artistic expression. Most often those programs are part of a larger educational system, but as they move beyond and age out of schools, those creative opportunities fall away. 

Thankfully, support for individuals with IDDs is growing nationwide. Programs are being created every day across the country whose mission is to provide a chance to learn expression through the arts and even create self-guided careers for talented artists to sell their work. 

The Angel Guardians program ArtWorks is a local program in Omaha that offers these services and opportunities. ArtWorks resident artists are provided opportunities to showcase their work at local galleries, community exhibitions, and through sales to private collections. An open gallery is curated with recent works of resident artists at the Angel Guardians headquarters as well.

We ask all of our readers to support local arts, as you are not only supporting our artists and individuals but fostering inclusion of people of all abilities within your community. 

To stay informed of the activities taking place at Angel Guardians and our local community events, please follow us on Facebook and Instagram, and don’t forget to sign up for our monthly newsletter

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