For the second year in a row, HIT incorporated, a Mandan-based organization helping people with intellectual disabilities, held an art exhibit featuring the work of about a dozen participants.
“It brings people together even through this bad time, this COVID-19,” said Ben Antonsen.
It’s Antonsen’s first time at the show, which initially was planned before the pandemic, but finally debuted today. He explains how the art has helped express himself.
“If there’s any people that have disabilities, I would recommend it to try, to bring a little more of their story out,” he said.
Antonsen credits the event’s organizer, Cathy Jahner, for inspiring participants. She leads weekly art classes, and has worked for HIT for nine years.
“Cathy is a very nice person,” Antonsen said. “She brings a lot of stuff out of us, some things we didn’t even know we were capable of.”
Jahner said seeing the joy of the artists makes her job so rewarding.
“It shows inclusion in the community,” Jahner said. “They’re a part of something, to show that they have abilities and they’re not a stigma of a disability.”
Brieanna Moos also had her work on display.
“My imagination is very vast, so I basically just went from drawing the dragon to flowing with my emotions and letting the art take its form,” Moos said.
She said the art classes and the exhibit provide a positive outlet.
“Everyone’s art is never the same. There’s always something to look forward to, it’s like a little pizzazz in your life,” Moos said.
The event was open to the public at the Bismarck Moose Lodge. Those attending could vote on their favorite work of art using raffle tickets, and Jahner says the winners will receive cash prizes.