We wish to empower artists with disabilities to reach beyond their current perceived capabilities to produce art that transcends the disability of the artists who created it. The Arctists Collective strongly believes that artists with physical challenges, artists who do not speak, even artists who do not appear to recognize the presence of others around them can exhibit and sell work competitively alongside that of other contemporary artists with out any of the typical prejudices or hierarchies that serve only to reinforce the marginalization of people with disabilities.
The Arctists Collective was founded in 2011 by The Arc Mercer, which is an organization that serves the greater Mercer County area providing individuals with developmental disabilities exposure to a variety of social, recreational, and vocational opportunities within the community. The Arctists Collective has allowed the Arc Mercer to introduce art and more importantly provide choices to individuals who have limited or no exposure to independent expression and decision making. The center operates with each artist focusing on their own art production or the liberty to join a group creation. All of the adults in the program get to work with professional artists creating visual art primarily through drawing, painting, mixed media, and the “drip art” process. The teachers facilitate but leave the artistic decisions to the artist. The studio environment focuses on art creation while also building the independent living skillls of observation, concentration, decision making, cooperaton and exploration. As a studio for emerging artists, The Arctists Collective serves the artist by providing the environment for creative expression, gallery promotion, and art as a vocation. It is rooted in the belief that self expression through art can and will allow each artist to demonstrate that they are more than just a person with a disability. It is dedicated to fostering artists whose interpretations of the world around us serve as a platform to encourage independent expression and decision making.