Gaining Independence and Sense of Self

Meet Tyler Harkins. Tyler has been a student artist with ArtMix for more than 10 years. You can witness his creativity every Monday during our eight-week Community Arts Class sessions. According to his mom, Debbie, Tyler looks forward to coming to class at ArtMix because this is “his” place – he knows the teaching artists, he knows his classmates and he knows what is expected of him so he feels comfortable in this environment. “He is so independent, he doesn’t even want me to come in with him. I just drop him off and go about my day,” says Debbie. Tyler has Apraxia and Asperger Syndrome. He didn’t begin speaking until the age of four. He still has challenges finding his words, but making art has helped his motor skills tremendously. “The teaching artists have the skills and training to know how to work with each individual. They can give Tyler some general direction, then, he can run with the project,” Debbie proudly stated.

“Tyler’s independence has blossomed since coming to ArtMix.”      -Debbie Harkins

At the heart of the ArtMix philosophy is inclusion – and that’s exactly what our Community Arts Classes provide. All ages, all abilities, all skill sets – anyone interested in learning to work in clay and 2-D art may join our fun afternoon classes just like Tyler.

Debbie first heard about ArtMix through Tyler’s school counselor at Howe High School who knew of our programs and suggested they might be a good fit for Tyler. It didn’t take long before ArtMix became one of Tyler’s favorite places to go. Now, at the age of 25, Tyler holds down a part-time job at Market District in Carmel three days a week, is an avid reader, and loves history and movies.

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