Artists with cognitive disabilities start businesses

By: Britni McDonald Email
By: Britni McDonald Email

POSTED Tuesday, July 22, 2014-- 5:40 p.m.

Artists at Artworking in Madison have cognitive disabilities. The purpose of the studio is to take their talents and put them to work, ultimately displaying and selling their art around the state and sometimes even the country.

"I drew it from memory," said Seth Albertson who is an artist with autism.

"A lot of times their creative potential has been unaffected by their disability," said Artworking director, Lance Owens.

He's made countless drawings, most of them of maps, roads, and traffic, some of them precise and by memory.

"Seth takes in an immense amount of information," said Owens. "It's not just his art. It's his thought process on paper."

Over the past year, Owens has helped Seth develop a business plan to sell his original artwork on t-shirts.

"We make it more possible to help with book keeping, calculate expenses-- a lot of things that are hard for anyone, we're trying to make them more in the reach of someone with a cognitive disability," said Owens.

It's business plans like this one that Owens is working on with about 30 other artists with cognitive disabilities.

"I really wanted to see people do what is a career and not just a job," said Owens. "When artists are successful they're less dependent on social service funding and the money they're spending is going back into local business."

To buy Seth's work or check out other artists work, you can head to

Artworking is part of "Work Opportunity in Rural Communities" or WORC.

To find some of the art work out in the community, you can check out Disability Pride Festival going on this Saturday in Brittingham Park from noon to 5:00 p.m.

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