Christmas carols came through loud and somewhat clearly from the old radio sitting next to the messy sink. Paint splotches dotted the receiver and covered the sink.
None of the artists cared that radio interference caused a few musical notes to drop out. They were too busy creating another masterpiece to notice.
“We were told to do Christmas cards so I really thought of Christmas trees,” said Kelly Kreg, one of the artists at the MacDonald Training Center in Tampa. The facility is dedicated to helping people with intellectual disabilities get the training they need to obtain and keep jobs.
Part of the curriculum is art.
“It means like home to me. It’s like, I call this place home,” said Shannon Browning, who has been coming to MacDonald since 2014.
The works of art that the artists are creating this time of year will be transformed into colorful Christmas cards to be sold as a fundraiser. The money raised from the sale of the cards will be split 50/50 between the center and the artist.
“The people we serve, we see their abilities, not their disabilities,” said Rita Hattab, who is the Director of Development at MacDonald. “We’ve had people with profound autism who could not communicate any other way. We see that kind of transformational power through art her every day.”
The cards, which feature paintings of traditional Christmas scenes, sell in packs of 10 cards for $10. The cards are available online or at the center’s Tampa location, 5420 W. Cypress St., Tampa, FL 33607.