Collaborative Art International

Talents and interests made visible.

Collaborative Art Residencies:  Connecting community and transforming sheltered workshops into creative spaces.

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What is Collaborative Art? 


The Collaborative Art Approach is based on the Abundance Model:  The world is full of beauty and creative ideas.  Sharing your ideas with others does not make your ideas go away – it feeds them.

We specialize in developing innovative programming  supporting individuals with developmental differences. The process of collaboratively making art and responding to the interests and talents of people being served is at the center of this approach. Projects begin with the understanding that the participants are the experts of what they like to do. Following curiosity and passion leads to uncovering interests and developing engaging dynamic programming. Tapping into the talents and interests of the staff expands programming opportunities, increases morale and demonstrates professional respect.

People who are often perceived as “physically/mentally/behaviorally challenging” or “unemployable” become the Rock Stars in this process. Patty Mitchell and Robert Lockheed facilitate the initial experience with a two-week art residency. This is a hands-on staff development opportunity where the consultants model approaches side by side with staff, gently hand over facilitating the work of the studio to staff members. At the end of the residency art works are created and installed within the agency or community. The goal is to create the foundation for continued programming and make something spectacularly beautiful. The projects attract positive attention and art provides a visual reminder of the creative genius of the participants.

Collaborative Art can be very simple...


1. Gather materials

Look around your facility to see what materials are available in-house and just waiting to be up-cycled and what will need to be purchased.  Collaborative Art can be very inexpensive.

See a sample Materials List


2. Provide space

Identify a dedicated space for the residency and beyond if you plan to continue with a studio.  Cover the floor and tables with tarps if needed.


3. Invite people in to investigate the stuff you have gathered

Participants are not told what to do but invited to explore and experiment with materials.  The opportunity to witness another person’s exploration provides insight into likes, thought processes and creates the base for a deeper understanding of each person.  


4. ...see what happens!

The Process is ultimately the most important part of the art making experience.  Through the creative process, organizations can offer opportunities that feed and encourage individual passions while offering community connection, income options and the celebration of ability.  As dedicated as we are to the process, we are as passionate to create fabulous works of art that leave no doubt about the talent, interest and potential of the people receiving services.


Want to bring collaborative art to your program?  Let’s talk.

© 2013 Collaborative Art International  |  Designed by Colleen Flayler