Art Speaks Exhibit:   A Visual Success

Inaugural Art Exhibit Features Challenge Mountain Participants

In its second year, the Challenge Mountain partnership with Crooked Tree Arts Center in Petoskey continues to provide creative programming to people living with disabilities. To showcase artwork created through the Art Speaks: Creative Arts Studio program, a month-long exhibit was displayed in Crooked Tree’s Atrium Gallery in Petoskey. The exhibition featured 56 pieces created by nine students.

Over the years, Challenge Mountain has integrated many forms of art into its programming, ranging from stained glass, painting, woodworking, mosaics, ceramics and dance/movement.

Thanks to anonymous donor support, Challenge Mountain and Crooked Tree Arts Center formed their partnership to offer consistent weekly classes in the creative arts to people living with cognitive, development and physical disabilities. Six-week sessions allow participants to learn art fundamentals and art history while applying skills to create everything from paintings to three-dimensional crafts.

Participants gain personal fulfillment through a sense of accomplishment and a feeling of acceptance that translates positively into their everyday lives. The studio classes are centered on having fun, making and sustaining friendships, building confidence, and, most importantly, fostering positive and hopeful expectations for living life with a disability.

Two events gave the public an opportunity to engage with Programming Director Linda Armstrong and Associate Program Director Claire Hague.

  • Coffee at 10 welcomed nearly a dozen community members who learned about Challenge Mountain programs and goals. Hague presented photography of adaptive recreational activities. “The biggest highlight was hearing how having our participants at Crooked Tree brought so much joy to underutilized spaces,” Hague shares.
  • The Exhibit Celebration Reception was attended by artists and nearly 50 area residents. “The participants were so proud to see their displayed artwork. It was special to see them take ownership and feel a sense of accomplishment.” Hague adds.

“Building self-confidence is a part of our mission at Challenge Mountain. Having participants’ artwork professionally displayed and celebrated at an esteemed place like Crooked Tree helped bring that mission to fruition.”

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Challenge Mountain is a non-profit 501c3 organization with Tax ID 38-2563815.

Started in 1984, Challenge Mountain removes barriers and supports social inclusion through adaptive recreation for children, youth and adults living with physical and cognitive disabilities. Activities include adaptive skiing and biking, nature and cultural activities, art programs, equine therapy and numerous other life-enriching programs.