Heather Schouten milled about Friday night accepting congratulatory handshakes and hugs after performing at an art show for people with disabilities.
Schouten, 25, had just amazed a crowd of close to 75 people by playing the violin and piano and belting self-penned songs.
The performance, one of dozens during the Whole Person’s sixth annual Expressions art series, was stirring.
The Whole Person is a Kansas City-based nonprofit center geared to help people with disabilities live independently. The series provides them an opportunity to showcase their art.
Schouten was just one of many that graced the stage or displayed their artwork at The Arts Asylum in downtown Kansas City. She was thankful for the experience.
“I’m not aware of many disabled individuals who are involved in the arts, especially music,” Schouten said. “And that’s something that I am interested in, helping people with disabilities get involved in music.
“This is definitely something close to my heart and I hope it leads me on to something more.”
The opening exhibition included live music and dance performances, a silent auction and a tile art project.
Visual artist Ted Goering of Kansas City also participated. He had three pieces of art in the exhibit, including two 3-D collage pieces. Goering, 63, said the event was encouraging for people with disabilities.
“It’s been a very positive experience,” Goering said. “I’m impressed with the artwork and I like the fact that they included more than just visual art. That was very cool.”
Terri Goddard, resource development and community relations manager for The Whole Person, said artwork from the series will remain on display at The Arts Asylum through the end of the year.
The exhibit will travel to four different art galleries throughout the metro in 2017, she said.
“It exposes more people to The Whole Person and what we do,” Goddard said of the series. “We feel like this showcases a whole bunch of people living independently.”
For more information on the Expressions art series, visit www.thewholeperson.org/expressions.