New exhibit celebrates Detroit artists with developmental disabilities


  • Courtesy of Playground Detroit

Playground Detroit is kicking off 2018 with a uniquely therapeutic and inspiring collection.

"What Color Do You Want to Start With?" will feature the work of developmentally disabled artists. The opening reception is slated for Thursday, Jan. 25 from 6 to 9 p.m. and will be on view until Feb. 1 and is composed of 100 works by 70 artists with focuses on the culture, architecture, and iconography of the city of Detroit.

In conjunction with the nonprofit organization, Services To Enhance Potential (STEP), Playground Detroit sourced its artists from STEP's Art in the Market program, which was created to assist adults with developmental disabilities with opportunities to improve their communication skills, productive work skills, and ultimately a chance to be seen.

“We are thrilled to partner with STEP to provide an opportunity for their clients to showcase their work in an elevated environment and furthermore, share the incredible talent that each possess,” Paulina Petkoski Playground Detroit's director, said in a press release. “Every piece curated in the exhibition displays their individual visions and creativity.”
  • courtesy photo.
Ray Ackley, an art instructor with the Art in The Market program, starts each lesson with one question — "What color do you want to start with?" It's less of an instruction and more of a creative launching point, and the resulting art show is a revealing look at the emotive interpretation and communicative nuances of a population that is often overlooked.

“Art in the Market fosters independence by acknowledging accomplishment, practicing motor skills, developing critical thinking while learning and adhering to process,” Brent Mikulski, president and CEO for STEP, said in the release. “The program puts a great deal of focus on learning the fundamentals of communication through art, color therapy, shape, pattern perspective, and content."

To learn more about Playground Detroit click here. For more information on the work of STEP visit

"What Color Do You Want To Start With?" will be on view from Thursday, Jan. 25 through Thursday, Feb. 1 from 6-9 p.m. at Playground Detroit; 2845 Gratiot Ave., Detroit.

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