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Teen hosts Horizons art show in Steamboat

Instructors say art prompts improvement, understanding

Horizon’s Day Program clients
John F. Russell





Horizon’s Day Program clients, from left to right, Jaimee Sexton, Jamie Kaminski and Don Pearce work on an art project that will be on display at the United Methodist Church of Steamboat Springs. The show will open with a chili benefit and art show from 5 to 7:30 p.m. today. The money raised will be used to benefit a youth group mission trip to Jamaica.
John F. Russell

Steamboat Springs High School senior Katelyn Ihrig has worked to help organize the United Methodist Church of Steamboat Springs’ Chili Benefit and Art Show, which will benefit a youth trip to Jamaica later this year. The art work, which was created by Horizon’s Spec­ial­ized Services clients, will be on display at the church.John F. Russell

— Among the works of art hung around the United Methodist Church of Steamboat Springs on Wednesday, several were missing the telltale signature of the artist.

But anonymous or not, it’s the faces behind the artwork that have inspired Steamboat Springs High School senior Katel­yn Ihrig.

As a part of a school project for a leadership class, Ihrig put together the art show featuring work by the developmentally disabled clients of Horizons Spec­ial­ized Services.



“I love what they do,” she said. “Art is such an inspirational thing for many people. It’s cool and a kind of amazing thing.”

Horizons clients’ artwork will be on display at United Meth­odist Church during a youth group fundraiser at 5 p.m. today. The event features a chili dinner and the suggested donation of $8 will go to fund the youth group’s summer mission trip.



Many of the art pieces then will be moved to Bud Werner Memorial Library for an exhibition next week.

At 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the library, the artwork will be accompanied by the PBS Com­mun­ity Cinema presentation of “For Once In My Life,” a documentary about musicians with physical and mental disabilities.

“This is an amazing opportunity to show a top-notch documentary in the community and share the limelight with a local group of artists, many of whom are overcoming the same kinds of obstacles portrayed in the film,” said Jenny Lay, the library’s adult programs coordinator. “It’s an hour to learn something new and enjoy a great art exhibit at the same time.”

For artist Rhi Gifford, who attends Horizons’ biweekly art therapy program with teacher Suzy Holloran, art is a way to brush off the stresses of the day.

“It really helps me relax,” Gifford said. “It helps me stay calm.”

Her work encompasses an extensive reach into art mediums, from graphite on paper drawings to a colorful paint rendition of Vincent van Gogh’s “Starry Night.”

“I just did some doodling,” Gifford said. “It’s just random stuff.”

Artist Bruce Rule also experiments with his work, using blending techniques in his watercolors, and Jaimee Sexton cut out several snowflakes on white paper that hang around the room.

“Over the years, some of our clients have created some really beautiful original artwork,” Horizons Executive Director Susan Mizen said. “We’ve used some of the artwork for note cards we’ve sent out and (for) Christmas cards. There are some really beautiful pieces.”

Holloran said the art therapy program has prompted improvement and understanding in its participants over the years.

“I think they are improving their cognitive ability because they have to think about how a picture will come together in color and form,” Holloran said “And it’s always a great social networking time for them.

“They really enjoy it.”

And for Gifford, there is an element of pride in having her work on display for the public.

“I like it because the whole town can see what I do,” Gifford said. “The whole town can see what us Horizons clients do.”

— To reach Nicole Inglis, call 871-4204 or e-mail ninglis@steamboatpilot.com


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