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Video: St. Paul art studio going virtual to reach people statewide

Oct 01, 2020 06:09AM ● By Editor

Watch the WDIO-TV Report here

Jeanne Calvit, the founder of Interact pictured with a group of artists.  Photo: WDIO-TV

By WDIO-TV - October 1, 2020

A St. Paul studio for artists with disabilities is expanding to create more opportunities for people statewide, including the Northland.

The program—called Interact—has helped hundreds of people with disabilities in the Twin Cities express themselves through art. Now, it is expanding statewide into places like Duluth—virtually.

Jeanne Calvit, the founder of Interact explained that through the program, artists age 18 to 95 participate in weekly classes on a variety of topics.

“We have classes ranging from theater to character creation to play reading to voice lessons to comedy,” Calvit said.

While classes used to be held in person, Calvit said they are now being held over Zoom as a result of the pandemic, which has allowed them to expand their outreach efforts beyond the Twin Cities.

"I think it's a huge silver lining, because the biggest problem we had at Interact was we have a license and because of the size of our building, we really couldn't expand very much,” Calvit said.

Calvit said she sees the program continuing virtually, as well as, in person in the future.

"I really hope this reaches people. There's a lot of isolation going on now with a lot of people with disabilities who had active lifestyles and did things. Now, they're kind of kept in their home or their group home, and it's a game changer coming to Interact,” Calvit said.

Jill Reedy, a St. Paul artist with epilepsy said the program has allowed her to pursue her passion in visual arts and beyond.

“The staff has been absolutely amazing and the variety of classes that they’ve come up with and the amount of classes that they’ve come up with. I’m doing things that I never thought I would’ve done before,” Reedy said.

Additionally, Reedy said the program has allowed her to meet people with a shared passion for art.

“If you love art, if you want to be part of a community that cares, I can’t think of a better place to be,” Reedy said.

In addition to well-seasoned artists, people with little to no art experience are encouraged to check out the program.

More information about the program can be found here.

To watch the original story and see related arts and culture reporting, follow this link to the WDIO-TV website.

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