Local artists with disabilities will be showing and selling their wares — from photographs and jewelry to paintings and greeting cards — on Dec. 19.
The third annual Creative Careers Artisans and Craftsman Show & Sale is a free event hosted by the East Texas Center for Independent Living.
“We have a variety of people,” Patrician Perkins, independent living skills coordinator/trainer for the center, said. “All of them have some type of disability.”
“I’m in a place now where I’m really enjoying my decision to go back and finish school,” she said.
She worked as assistant coordinator for a case manager at the Andrew’s Center before she moved to an 11-month program at East Texas Center for Independent Living. After finishing the program, she was asked to join the staff.
Ms. Perkins teaches several classes, including money management, reading, cooking, safety/nutrition, basic computer skills and Internet safety. Her largest class is cooking and with 27 students, she has had to break it up into three sessions. She also adds new classes, such as hygiene or instructing the Texas driver’s handbook, for limited times. She also coordinates events the organization holds at the center and out in the community.
Ms. Perkins is proud of her students, recalling a student who once was scared to ride the city bus but now rides all over Tyler, and another student who got her driver’s license. “I’m proud to see the progress they’ve made,” she said.
By Friday, a handful of people already had signed up to participate.
Mandy Jones, an artist and former volunteer at the center, will have a booth. She is building her own business, Challenge House, where she offers art therapy through teaching art in several mediums, such as charcoal, pencil and water color.
Mary Marsh, who has a business in Jacksonville, crochets hat and scarf sets, baby blankets and doilies.
A Tyler Junior College photography student will sell nature pictures.
A young man will offer his digitally made greeting cards.
The participants pay a $20 fee to rent a space, of which $5 is used to pay for their lunch. The artists keep all of the proceeds made from their creations. The event, set for 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 19 at the East Texas Center for Independent Living, 4713 Troup Highway, is free and open to the public.
“We’d like for people to come see the people who are participating and what they’re able to do,” Ms. Perkins said, adding that she hopes students who attend classes at the center will drop by to shop for last-minute Christmas gifts.
They have about 15 spaces available for participants. Although the deadline to register was Friday, she said those interested in participating can register up to and on the day of the event. For more information, call Ms. Perkins at 903-581-7542.