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Sacramento’s Short Center North Aims to Expand Local Arts Scene

Throughout the year, Sacramento’s Short Center North (SCN), an extension of the Developmental Disabilities Service Organization (DDSO), serves the community as an art program for adults with developmental disabilities. On Saturday, June 9, the center will call on the Sacramento community to support the non-profit organization in its effort to expand its outreach, while celebrating its clients’ art with a fundraiser and art show.

The annual event will be an entertaining occasion as carnival games, live music, artisanal vendors and a food truck will be on hand to support the cause. In addition, one of the center’s clients, Dawne Franklin, will be presenting her first solo art exhibition with zines and T-shirts supporting her work.

photo of #DawneFranklin working on a large piece for her upcoming solo show

A post shared by short center art (@shortcenterart) on

Over the years, SCN artists like Franklin have come to see their art featured at the Crocker Art Museum, the California State Fair, New York City’s Outsider Art Fair and many other galleries.

Esther Hall, a Sacramento artist on the rise, has been a direct support professional and art instructor at SCN since September 2017. Along with her fellow colleagues, she has been working to push her clients’ work into the public spotlight with the ultimate goal of someday opening a gallery that features their work year-round. She believes her clients have the potential to show great work, if only they are given the opportunity to present it on the same scale as other artists.

“Because their minds are different, they have their own way of getting to the same result, or an even better one,” said Hall. “I feel like a lot of times people underestimate their art, and honestly, I think it’s a lot better half the time than the regular population of art.”

The influence and confidence Hall and her fellow artists instill in the center’s clients is part of the beauty that comes from the center’s presence in the community. Society’s deceptions that one has to come from a certain background or hold a certain title in order to be appreciated are debunked on a daily basis at the center.

“Ideally we would like a space where we could do it continuously,” said Hall. “We’ve had clients who have been in the program for 30 years, so we’ve got like 30 years of their artwork, you know?”

Since being developed in 1978, SCN has never increased its low-cost rate to join the program for those who are eligible. However, the cost of rent for the location and the art supplies needed to support the program continue to increase. Similar to the majority of underfunded schools and programs, teachers tend to donate their own materials, which is where fundraisers become a necessity.

“If it’s something I don’t have at the school–like a lot of times–we end up donating our own things, or using our own materials just so they can have something better to use,” said Hall. “They get like Crayola crayons and things like that and I think a lot of them deserve good art materials, you know? ‘Cause they make good art, so they deserve good stuff.”

Profits from the artwork sold on Saturday will go directly to SCN artists to support their care and future art endeavors, as they please.

For more information on Saturday’s fundraiser and the Short Center North, visit DDSO.org/project/short-center-north/

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