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2019 Top-Rated Nonprofit

The Arts of Life, Inc.

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Arts & Culture, Arts Education

Mission: Arts of Life advances the creative arts community by providing artists with intellectual and developmental disabilities a collective space to expand their practice and strengthen their leadership.

Target demographics: Adult artists who have developmental and/ or intellectual disabilities.

Direct beneficiaries per year: 60 artists

Geographic areas served: Chicago-land

Programs: We support each other as professional artists in creating a thriving arts community based on cooperative decision-making and mutual respect. We are committed to providing high quality, innovative services for adults with developmental disabilities. The studio focuses on its artists’ needs and strives to exceed expectations. Our community thrives and depends on the unique skills and capabilities of everyone involved - our artists, staff, and volunteers.

Community Stories

34 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

Serving on the Associate Board has been an incredible experience. Learning about the incredible work these artists create and do and the profound impact this organization has had on their lives has been nothing short of life-changing.

1 XamanEk C.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Arts of Life is a wonderful organization that brings great opportunities for development to the community they serve and their families. It also brings a whole new life experience for the staff and volunteering that really creates a positive impact in your life.
I love their enthusiasm, passion and professionalism in everything they do. The art work they produce has a noble purpose essence in life which is full of color and texture with a deep personal mark printed by each one of the artist.
We love The Arts of Life for their comitment and for what they brought to our lives.

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The Arts of Life is a Chicagoland treasure! They are a one-of-a-kind community that advocates for and provides services to artists with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The Arts of Life's artist are truly gifted and create the most unique and collectible art around. Every dollar truly makes a difference for this nonprofit and I will continue to go to Arts of Life events and support this organization however I can.

3 Star S.1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been working with Arts of Life for 4 years and I can say this organization is KEY for artists with intellectual and developmental disabilities. This organization helps to create leadership skills allowing the artist to grow professionally and independently. I've never been a part of such an amazing community as this one and I am so grateful for the opportunities I have had here as an artist mentor and intern.

1 Francesca K.

Board Member

Rating: 5

The Arts of Life is changing the lives of more than 60 adult artists with disabilities -- it has been truly an honor to work with this group of incredible and dedicated people.

3 danabassett

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have had such an enriching experience volunteering at the Arts of Life. I was able to work with incredible artists both in and outside their studio, and the exhibition we put on together was stellar. I also love the staff and administrators who keep everything running smoothly and working with volunteers to realize everyone's potential and needs. Such a great program!!

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

EVERYONE should know about this organization. Arts of Life is one of the only non-profits that allows adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities to have a space to create art while strengthen their leadership skills. With the help of the organization, the artist's are given opportunities to showcase their work at places like Groupon HQ, Chicago Cultural Center, and Renegade Craft Fair. There's so much to love about Arts of Life, and more people should come and support. Plus, the art is AMAZING and the artist's are fun to hang out with.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was an intern at Arts of Life in the Fall of 2018 and it was one of the best experiences of my life. Not only did they help me expand my writing and editing skill set, but I learned so much valuable information about the non-profit world, as well as the art world. The services and opportunities they provide for the artists that are patrons of Arts of Life are truly one of a kind and quite outstanding- and every one of the artists that I met had a passion for both Arts of Life and the work that they got to do there. Truly a 10/10 organization, although I can only rate it five out of five stars. I encourage any and everybody to look into this organization, volunteer, and donate as this is an organization that is so beneficial and helpful to artists with developmental disabilities and to their families.

1 Michael H.7

Board Member

Rating: 5

For 20 years The Arts of Life has been assisting in empowering disabled adults achieve their dreams through the arts. The Arts of Life enables these wonderful people and their talents to be valued in our society. The joy and pride expressed by the artists and their achievements makes our world a better place.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is an organization that truly makes a difference. Not only does the Arts of Life support its artist, they also empower them.The mission of Arts of Life is to employ and support artists with intellectual and developmental disabilities. These artists are provided with a working space, community, mentors and a professional gallery to exhibit the artists' works. This a truly amazing organization and I am proud and truly fortunate to be part of it.

4 Kj B.

Donor

Rating: 5

This community is so near and dear to my heart. Seeing the development of so many amazing artists is spellbounding. I've been involved with the studio since 2003. It's a long-standing creative space for the differently abled. I feel so honored to call these artists part of my greater arts community.

3 Leah S.2

Donor

Rating: 5

I cannot say enough good things about Arts of Life. It is a tremendous organization, one that has been transformational in the life of my cousin and many others. I’m so grateful for their amazing work.

3

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

A family member chose to attend the Arts of Life North Shore Studio several years ago. Arts of Life has allowed his creative energy to find focus, purpose and success. He has exhibited and sold paintings, been involved in many artist-developed creative efforts including poetry, drama and music. The artists are supported and facilitated by the consistently fine staff and volunteers to let their talents rise and their voices be heard. I am always looking forward to the next event, exhibit, and opportunity created by and for the artists at Arts of Life.

3 Claudia A.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Our son, Chris, had a traumatic brain injury 30 years ago and has spent many years in support group settings, clubhouses, and supported work settings. All of these options had trade-offs. He was a welder before his injury and never had any interest in painting until about a year ago when he began spending more and more time at home with art. We saw a newspaper article about the San Francisco Arts of Life studio and looked for one locally in Chicago. Arts of Life North Shore has been the answer to meaningful work for meaningful pay for Chris. He is not a Picasso, but is proud of his work and gains self-respect. The staff and volunteers are experts, caring, patient, accepting and provide on-going positive reinforcement for his efforts in a supportive environment. We couldn't ask for a better answer to our prayers!

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

Arts of Life is a wonderful place where artists with disabilities can create art and feel whole.

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Arts of Life gives individuals with disabilities opportunities for self expression and recognition of their artistic abilities that are often not readily available to them. We are impressed by the studios’ dedication to sharing the work of these "unseen" artists with the wider community through public art projects, gallery showings, partnerships, and a strong social media presence. The Arts of Life stands apart from other organizations for people with disabilities because it is committed to enriching theirs lives by facilitating their art-making as well as making them known. The Arts of Life is a creative and inspiring community where our son flourishes both as an individual and an artist.

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

Arts of Life is an amazing place. It offers such a great opportunity for each individual to express themselves. And it works because of the people who work there. They care and really want to help each person to realize their ability to create. They are committed to helping each person learn to work together, help one another and support each other.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have worked at at Arts of Life North Shore as a painter-musician for over 5 years and it is still one of the greatest places on earth to work. We work independently of each other but as a community, too. We have many positive chances to make the studio what we want it to be, and make it better. It is a fun place with great music, poetry, drama, exhibits, art talks. You name it, we do it! Check out VanGoGo, our band, on iTunes!

4 Dave H.4

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

What an amazing program and so well run. The artists in this program - each individuals with divergent abilities - accomplish things that no other program provides. It brings out skills and talent and intelligence overlooked by more traditional programs. The staff is devoted. And the environment accepting.

2

Donor

Rating: 5

Our daughter, Becky, started attending Arts of Life in 2012. On our initial visit to Arts of Life in Glenview, we were thrilled with the commitment of the staff and their passion for guiding Arts of Life participants in the process of bringing their own concepts to each piece of their art. A treasured photo of Becky welcoming her first niece to our family was beautifully portrayed in her painting, capturing her pride in her new role as an Aunt. Becky not only enjoys the art projects. She has made many wonderful friends at the Arts of Life studio. Every participant has a vested interest in making the Arts of Life experience what they want it to be. The participants' input is respected, and considered as the staff plans future events and field trips. Becky truly feels she is an integral part of the Arts of Life community. She has blossomed artistically and socially. We are grateful we found the Arts of Life program and look forward to many, many years of fun and friendship at A of L! We are the proud parents of artist, Becky, and we happily support this wonderful organization. -- Rudy & Debbie