Celebrating Emerging Artists
Johnson County Developmental Supports’ Emerging Artists program supports an array of artists diagnosed with intellectual and development disabilities, allowing them to sell and show their works locally and nationally alongside those of other artists.
Intrigued and then inspired by the initiative, filmmaker Lindsey Doolittle produced the award-winning short film Emerging Artists. She screens the 8-minute movie, then joins JCDS Arts Program Specialist Kristen Devlin and artists Ryan Sikes and Brad Friedman to discuss its story, artmaking, and the JCDS program and its future.
The program is held in conjunction with the Library exhibition Peripheral Visions, which features the work of artists from the JCDS Emerging Artists program and Imagine That! KC.
Doolittle – also an artist, art educator, children’s author, and advocate for suicide survivors – made her film after a chance meeting on a plane with Sikes. They bonded over loss; she’d lost her husband to suicide, and he had lost his father to sudden heart failure. Each came to use art not only to express and communicate their grief but also as a means of beginning to heal.
Sikes works and sells his art through JCDS’ Emerging Artists program and introduced Doolittle to its work.