Johnson County Developmental Services is an agency of the Johnson County Government. JCDS serves adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. The JCDS Emerging Artists Program consists of adult artists with IDD who are passionate and driven to create artwork. The artist’s work in studio located in a public venue at the Johnson County Arts and Heritage Center.
While acrylic painting is the most-used medium in studio, there are also artists using watercolor, colored pencil, fiber arts, ceramics, woodworking, and sculpture.
The artists have the opportunity to show and sell their artwork at their studio, local art shows, galleries, and participate in marketing their work through their social media accounts, Facebook, Instagram, and Flickr. Sales from the artwork go directly to the artists.
The Emerging Artists are in varying stages of the artistic development and most have been creating artwork as soon as they could hold a pencil.
Besides making money in an industry not typically open for people with IDD, many artists have had the door opened to equal citizenship, personal growth, communication, self-expression, self-advocacy, and self-esteem from the art program. The artists get seen as adult artists not as their disability.