Passion and Joy
Passion and Joy features artwork made by practicing professional artists with developmental differences from Passion Works and Planet Joy studios. These artists have accomplished many creative ventures, from designing product lines and creating public artwork to installing exhibitions and enhancing the festival experience. Although people have historically perceived these artists as unemployable non-viable citizens, they create visual evidence of their abilities through the depth and wealth of the creative human spirit.
Passion Works is a collaborative community arts center located in Athens, Ohio. When she founded the center in 1998, current Executive Director Patty Mitchell envisioned collaborating with people through individual interests and abilities. Mitchell describes Passion Works as a place to “Amplify what we love.” She adds, “For any human being, there is comfort when welcomed into the fold for who we are and what we like, and not just having attention directed to what our perceived disabilities might be or other life challenges. We intend to build our best lives together.”
While Passion Works has faced discouraging comments in the past, Mitchell has never wavered in her mission to elevate their artists’ work. In the workshop, Mitchell was told by leadership, “These people will never make anything anyone would ever want to buy.” She pivoted this discouragement into motivation and challenged the status quo. Passion Works has created a solution to these societal expectations. Mitchell says, “If we cannot imagine something better, we are stuck with the status quo in front of us. And this is why I seek out artists. They envision new things. Better things. And we need to create more pathways for their societal involvement.”
Inspired by the model of Passion Works, Planet Joy opened its doors in Medina, Ohio, in June of 2018. As a collaborative in-house art studio, they encourage the exploration of imagination and creativity through the arts.
Passion Works and Planet Joy artists are recognized throughout the region. The studios have successfully created fine art, held gallery exhibitions, and designed public artworks and products. The work created by both Passion Works and Planet Joy encourage connection, purpose, and belonging through collaborative art-making.
PASSION AND JOY | MARCH 7–APRIL 15 | EMILY DAVIS GALLERY
COLLABORATIVE WORK BY PASSION WORKS STUDIO AND PLANET JOY STUDIO ARTISTS
MYERS SCHOOL OF ART
University of Akron
150 East Exchange Street
Akron, Ohio 44325