Art from adults with learning disabilities now at MOCA

An annual exhibit featuring art by adults with intellectual disabilities has returned to the Virginia Beach Museum of Contemporary Art until Nov. 16.

Art from the SkillQuest Day Support Program on display at the Virginia Beach Museum of Contemporary Art. (Kelly Kultys/Southside Daily)

The display features more than 300 hundred works, including paintings, pottery, drawings and other mixed media projects. The artists who created them are part of the city’s SkillQuest Day Support Program, which provides training and support services for adults who have intellectual disabilities.

At SkillQuest, clients learn communication and socialization skills, behavioral tips, community exploration and academic lessons, including art. Marion Bloomfield, a clinician and art therapist with the city, worked with the artists and helped them get their pieces ready for display.

The exhibit includes individual and group projects. Some are mosaic windows, fitting the theme of the display: “More than a window.”

The pieces are on display in the Fleming Gallery seven days a week. Admission is free.

SkillQuest and the Museum of Contemporary Art have partnered on the exhibit for the past two decades. The works will be on display until a silent auction and reception on Nov. 16. Last year’s party drew more than 200 people, including many of the artists’ families and residents from their group home, Bloomfield said.

“We’ve heard that a lot of people enjoy the show,” she said.

The reception will feature music from Skip Friel, a popular local folk artist. He has been performing at the reception for the past few years as a gift to the program, Bloomfield said.

At the silent auction, people can bid on works from this year and prior years. The proceeds from an individual project will go directly to the artist; those from a group piece will go toward funding group art supplies and activities.

SkillQuest participants are also creating items that will be on sale through their Seaside Sundries Boutique. Those creations may include beaded bookmarks, jewelry and candlesticks.

“I can’t tell you exactly what’s going to be on display there, since they’re still inventing,” Bloomfield said.

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