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Grand Forks art workshop presents tools for people with disabilities

Angela Cowles uses a patterned paint roller during a demo for the Zot Artz Without Limits Workshop Monday, July 27, 2015, at the Anne Carlson Center in Grand Forks, N.D. (Logan Werlinger/Grand Forks Herald)1 / 3
Jessica Triller uses a patterned paint roller during a demo for the Zot Artz Without Limits Workshop Monday, July 27, 2015, at the Anne Carlson Center in Grand Forks, N.D. (Logan Werlinger/Grand Forks Herald)2 / 3
Dr. Beth Gigante Klingenstein and Nicole Trottier use a foam screen printer during a demo for the Zot Artz Without Limits Workshop Monday, July 27, 2015, at the Anne Carlson Center in Grand Forks, N.D. (Logan Werlinger/Grand Forks Herald)3 / 3

Dwayne Szot's artistic vision is simple — be fully inclusive.

The adaptive art tools he conceptualizes and creates through his business, Zot Artz, allow people with or without disabilities to express themselves artistically. His creations include paint rollers that can attach to wheelchairs and chalk rollers that can attach to walkers.

"I'm after the possibility of enriching lives," Szot said. "I design with intent — and I intend to reach all people."

Szot, whose business is based in Wisconsin, now travels nationwide to speak to teaching artists about incorporating these tools into their communities. On Monday, artists from around North Dakota interested in hearing about Szot's ideas gathered at the Zot Artz Art Without Limits Workshop, held at the North Dakota School for the Blind in Grand Forks.

Those at Monday's workshop were there to bring back Szot's tools and techniques to their communities.

Part of the workshop had the teaching artists making their own paint rollers. After cutting out designs from Styrofoam, the artists glued them onto roll paper and made colorful pictures.

Representatives of sponsoring organizations, VSA North Dakota, the Anne Carlsen Center and the North Dakota Council on the Arts, also gathered to learn more.

VSA North Dakota and the Anne Carlsen Center recently partnered together to sponsor the Zot Artz workshop. VSA North Dakota provides arts education for people with disabilities, while the Anne Carlsen Center provides general programming for all people with disabilities.

VSA North Dakota Executive Director Linda Olsrud said she sees Szot's teachings as essential to running successful arts programs, especially for children with disabilities.

"These adaptive techniques put people on equal footing," she said.

Denise Jensen, the recreation coordinator at the Anne Carlsen center, said she loves Szot's visions.

"He sees there's no limits for what our kids can do," she said. "He's thinking outside of the box and (about) how we can make life accessible to all people."

The Anne Carlsen Center already incorporates the tools into its curriculums. The center has worked with Szot for several years, Jensen said.

"The kids love the tools, because they have the freedom to create by themselves," she said.

The organizations will host a community open house today from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the North Dakota School for the Blind. The event is open to all members of the public interested in painting with such tools.

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