5. Success Stories and Positive change

Career Development Through the Arts

Artists First, a nonprofit in St. Louis, Missouri has successfully implemented an arts based career development program, Lifeworks. This guided self-employment program gives professionally minded artists with disabilities the chance to create art as a career. Artists First staff facilitates financial independence for the participants by vigorously seeking out opportunities to display, market and sell participants' artwork. Providing occupational support staff collaboratively identifies employment goals and develops a realistic action plan with participants. Artists with disabilities are empowered in developing their own roadmap to meaningful employment opportunities through creative self-expression. Through career coaching, participants further employment skills such as communication and self-advocacy. For some with disabilities, the traditional employment or workshop models are not conducive to their individual needs, talents and desires. Providing artistic, marketing and career coaching support, Lifeworks has enabled many individuals to enjoy a quality rewarding and productive work experience.

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