Who we are
Our Art Works operates as a non profit 501(c)(3) organization. Our goal is to assist, educate, and reach out to people with disabilities in Northeast Mississippi. In the Lee county area we work with hundreds of people with developmental disabilities (DD) and who are wheelchair users; therefore, we are grateful to be able to work with the citizens in our community that have significant disabilities, males and females of all ages and races. At Our Art Works, we take our art program to Day Facilities that assist people with disabilities and they come to our studio. We also take art programs to nursing homes, rehab centers, hospitals, church groups, elementary schools, Boys & Girls Club, Boy Scouts of America, and any organization or club that contacts us. When visiting schools every child gets a canvas to drip paint and we speak about art, disabilities and we stress the importance of wearing seat belts. We speak about how seat belts will prevent injuries in automobile accidents and will save your life.
We strive to get students out of their homes and into Our Art Works studio filled with expression and creativity. The Our Art Works studio is located at 603 Clayton Ave and it is dedicated to helping our consumers. We have students from accidents that left feeling alienated. They are welcome at Our Art Works and have someone to talk to and confide in. We visit home bound students who can’t come to class. We leave art supplies with them and offer encouragement.
Our annual city cookout always second Tuesday in May in front of city hall has grown to a huge event partnering with other organizations sharing information with the community. We will continue to work together with other community organizations for the greater good of the people we serve.
In the beginning
The idea for Our Art Works began when William was working for a nonprofit called LiFe. LiFe empowers people with disabilities and people with spinal and brain injuries. He spent a year working for LiFe visiting people with brain and spinal cord injuries in hospitals and their homes what life did for him when he was injured. Working for life he made new friends. He started painting when he was in rehabilitation at the shepherd center in Atlanta. He spent months recovering from a car accident and learning how to start over. When he returned home he continued to paint but painting wasn't working how he wanted. One night the movie "Pollock" with Ed Harris was on TV about Jackson Pollock. Watching that movie he thought he should try drip painting. William began painting using spoons. He controlled the drip with a spoon by holding it with a styrofoam ball. Couple years of experimenting in the art of the drip he discovered new paint dripping techniques. He was drip painting with anything such as pans, bowls, cups, eating and cooking utensils. He went crazy dripping paint.
Our Art Works looks forward to what the future holds and the lives that can be touched through this amazing program.
There is a great need for our unique organization in Tupelo. There is nothing like it in Mississippi. We have been an organization for ten great years. As we continue to grow and work together with our consumers, creating art to them is more than a recreational activity.
“Art is a safe way to express feelings, it helps us express ourselves slowly and at our own pace. Art helps us find our true selves and express our pains and heartaches that language does not have the ability or power to convey. Feelings that stem from trauma, violence, or abuse are often overwhelming and words alone rarely capture or convey their true intensity. Pictures tell us far more than words can ever express.”
“Searching into our artistic selves and creative mind can help provide a whole world of self-discovery. Art is the best healing tool possible when we are feeling emotions that are too painful, too deep, too hidden to access. Art is the bridge that allows us to reconnect to those feelings.”