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History of the Studio
“All humanity is passion; without passion, religion, history, novels, art would be ineffectual.” — Honore de Balzac
The dream of Passion Works started in 1996 when Patty Mitchell came to Atco, the Athens County vocational workshop* for people with developmental disabilities. A grant from the Ohio Arts Council allowed her to spend a three-week art residency in the workshop sharing her artistic skills with the clients in the Atco program. Most of the Atco clients had never been given the opportunity or encouragement to be creative before. Mitchell's goal was simple: to bring art into the lives of adults with physical and mental disabilities. By the end of the three weeks, it was clear that she had tapped an untouched, yet amazingly bountiful resource
Subsequent grants allowed Mitchell to continue work with the Atco clients, and in 1998, Passion Works Studio was born. The Studio began modestly—taking up only a small corner of the shipping and packing room. Today, the studio is thriving. Mitchell now serves as Art Director, leading the Studio's mission to bring together artists, regardless of ability, to create beautiful works of art. Passion Works has hosted more than 20 visiting artists, presented 25 gallery exhibitions and launched a line of products designed by its workshop artists.
The studio continues to explore new territories and soar to new heights. In 2004, The Ohio Arts Council's International Program helped Passion Works take its knowledge, techniques and enthusiasm on the road to Punta Arenas, Chile. In 2005, Passion Works launched its first enhanced music CD featuring twelve songs based on the poetic collaborations between Passion Works and Hocking College students.
The future for Passion Works Studio is as limitless as the creativity and energy of the staff, artists and volunteers. The studio hopes to expand programming to develop new products, increase production and move the studio even closer to its goal of becoming a self-sustaining enterprise.
*Vocational or sheltered workshop: a supervised low-tech production line where individuals complete repetitive tasks such as stuffing envelopes or assembling pens.
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