Progressive Art Studio Collective brings the arts to disabled adults in Detroit

A first-of-its-kind gallery for Detroit and Wayne County is on a mission to support artists with developmental disabilities and mental health issues with the goal of building their artistic practices and career paths in the arts.

Alsendoe Owens, “Red Face” (2021), watercolor and marker on paper

Progressive Art Studio Collective (PASC) program manager Anthony Marcellini says isolation is just one of the many issues that his arts-focused program is hoping to address for adults with developmental disabilities and mental health issues.

“For the disabled community, a lot of times programs are more isolated. This is a very public program,” says Marcellini. “The artists in our program will engage with the public in a different way than a life skills program. They show their work to the general public, so we really have disability aesthetics being embraced by the public.”

Some of the artwork being created at PASC will be displayed at an exhibition called “Liberty Realm,” curated by artist James Benjamin Franklin. It’s on display at a pop-up gallery at the Vella Group at 1410 Gratiot Ave. in Detroit now through June 5.

PASC is a program of Services to Enhance Potential (STEP), a nonprofit service organization that supports more than 1,300 individuals with disabilities and mental health differences.

Listen: What the arts can offer adults with developmental disabilities and mental health issues.



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  • Ryan Patrick Hooper

    Ryan Patrick Hooper is the award-winning host and producer of CultureShift on 101.9 WDET-FM Detroit’s NPR station. Hooper has covered stories for the New York Times, NPR, Detroit Free Press, Hour Detroit, SPIN and Paste magazine.