I feel so fortunate to have been born into such a large, creative and diverse family. It taught me to be sensitive to differences and to not judge on the surface. Not all disabilities can be seen. We are all very complex individuals with a lot of creative abilities as well as mental and physical disabilities.
I have always felt driven to use my talents as an Artist to serve the larger community which I got from my parents; my father a Jr High Guidance Councilor and my Mother an Art and Music Therapist. When I was in my teens I volunteered at the Dakota County Children’s Home for children with disabilities; I also went to group homes to perform dance and music with adults with disabilities with my sister to accompany my mother. Singing, dancing, creating with them stripped away my fears and inhibitions and I felt like I mattered. When I was 17 one of my many sisters received the bonus of a child with cerebral palsy when she married. I loved creating with Rachel and planning all her birthday parties for her and friends. Rachel helped me see the world through a whole new light.
After I graduated from the U of M, I had no idea of where I was headed! I traveled a very uncertain path; to help cope with my own struggle with anxiety and depression, I became a community Artist. I brought art to Nursing homes, Homeless Shelters, Schools, Bush Memorial Children’s Home, Free Arts MN, Hospitals, Clinics, Churches and on the streets of South and North Minneapolis. I always felt more comfortable creating with others than being alone in a studio.
To serve the community, I opened Simply Jane Open Artists Studio in 2007. I couldn’t afford much, but it was a lovely little corner storefront with a party room and restrooms down the stairs on the lower level. This was not ideal for elderly and physically disabled artists. As we grew I was certain that this WAS my path and I made the move to a new studio and made sure it would accommodate all people, all artistic abilities and those who are differently abled. I started out Simply Jane and came to be, Simply ArtAble. (read more about Jane)