As you walk past The Canvas and peek inside, you might see what looks like an everyday community art studio and gallery.
But The Canvas is also a day habilitation program for Reach, an organization that provides support to children and adult with developmental disabilities.
Reach was created in the 1970s by a group of local families looking for resources for their children who out grew the school system, said program developer MK MacNaughton.
In 2007, The Canvas was created to fulfill a community need for an art studio space and a place to help individuals experiencing disabilities meet goals.
"Some artists in our program are working on dexterity skills. Some are working on focus or social interaction," MacNaughton said.
The idea of using art for habilitation is not something new and is done in many places around the world. It's the shared space that includes the community that makes it a unique concept.
Kim Champney, acting director of The Canvas, said, "We want this to be welcoming to people with all abilities and plan it out that way. That's when you get that real diversity that leads to these relationships and this community change. Historically, people with disabilities have been isolated in our communities. It's our belief that this new generation will really change the way people view the gifts of people with disabilities in the future."
"It's magical," said contract artist Tasha Walen, "I get a lot out of teaching here because it's like special doors that you wouldn't get anywhere else, just into perspectives."
The community and The Canvas art students can express themselves through a variety of media. There are jewelry-making, print-making, painting, glass fusion and drawing classes.
"We have a great pottery studio," said Champney.
The studio is able to accommodate six people working on pottery wheels and one station is wheelchair accessible. There is enough room for about 10 people to hand-build pottery.
It's not just about the visual arts, said Champney. "It's music. There's movement, classes going on, dancing."
There are poetry slams once a month and there have been a few theatre productions, said MacNaughton. Everything "from the quirky to the more traditional arts."
During the lunch hour, The Canvas staff member Christy NaMee Eriksen sets up a Haiku stand where people can get a custom Haiku poem. It's like a lemonade stand, said the program developer.
Art student Tammi Birch said she likes "doing pottery. Even music."
It's a friendly atmosphere for the community as a whole.
"Always, me and my friends and teachers have lots of fun together, Talking and being nice to each other," said Melanie Adams, an art student.
"It's a great location for people to socialize with each other in a safe environment," said Walen.
"There's no right or wrong way to do art. It's a very expressive medium," said Champney, "So, it's something that people who have all different levels of ability can come together and be at the same place with."