Step into the vibrant world of Project Onward, where art transcends barriers and celebrates diversity! Since 2004, Project Onward has provided studio space and materials for adults over 18 with developmental disabilities and mental illness to unleash their creativity. With a commitment to accessibility, artists receive support and opportunities to showcase their talent, earning 50% of proceeds from art sales. Join us on a journey of empowerment and inspiration at Project Onward, where every brushstroke tells a story of resilience and triumph!

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NANCY: I am Nancy Gomez, the Executive Director of Project Onward at the Bridgeport Art Center. Back in 2004, the founders created Project Onward for adults over 18 who had developmental disabilities and mental illness. We provide all the studio space as well as the materials for them to create art. Once their art is created, we sell that for them. They receive 50% of the proceeds and they don’t have to pay a dime. We have a studio and gallery on the fourth floor, as well as a ceramic studio on the fifth floor.

TEKKI: My name is Tekki Lomnicki. I am the artistic director of Tellin’ Tales Theatre. I’m a director and actor, a writer, and a teaching artist. I was a little bit nervous coming here because I knew the building was really big, but I had wonderful guides the whole time. When my taxi dropped me off, they dropped me off at the accessible entrance with the ramp, I went around and a man opened one of the doors for me and was there to guide me. When I walked in, I was greeted warmly.

NANCY: Most people, when they first enter our space, they say that it seems like you’re a family. Everybody is hard at work creating art, but also having conversations and making friends with each other. Everybody, no matter what walk of life they’re in or what disability they may have, should all be able to come in and look at artwork, learn about the artwork, and talk to our artists about the artwork.

TEKKI: I thought that the venue very much accommodated me today. I was able to get around the whole place and on the elevators.

NANCY: Some of our artists having issues where they are either going to have to use walkers and wheelchairs, so we definitely need to be able to be accessible to them as well as to the public. If somebody calls up and they have a hearing disability or a speech disability, we can accommodate them. We can get an ASL person in, or we can provide somebody to describe the artwork that’s in our gallery. For anybody who has sensory issues, we have earphones, so they’re able to come in and we can turn the lights low as well. Once they come in and they see our artwork that’s comparable to artists anywhere, they love seeing the artwork and talking to our artists.

TEKKI: It is a wonderful artistic place. Please come to Project Onward. You will have an experience like you’ve never had before.

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