Hope Studios is a second family for its artists

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ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - Hope Studios makes it their mission to give its artists a safe space to create through different mediums.

The folks in charge of the canvas are all people who experience a developmental disability.

“We use art as a medium for change for almost everything,” said Jennifer Moore, the Director or Artistic Expression for the studios. “All of a sudden, they became a little more open.”

Kristine Whalen has been going to Hope Studios since 2009.

“I learned how to make friends and be here,” she said. “And color and paint.”

Another artist is Joe Rust. Rust is nonverbal, and it can be hard for him to concentrate and sit in one spot.

But at Hope Studios, it’s different.

“He’ll sit and paint for hours,” Moore said.

Moore talked about a time that Rust’s parents visited him for the first time.

“They sat across from him when he was painting,” Moore said. “And when I came in when they were leaving, she had tears in his eyes. She said these are tears of joy, I was able to spend this much time with my son because he wasn’t able to sit for that long.”

“It was heart-warming to me because they connected through the avenue of art,” she said.

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