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Autism community sells art

Posted at 8:05 AM, Apr 23, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-23 11:46:00-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Everyday at the Art Garden, Anthony Selstad learns something new. Today, it's putting together price tags and making sure all of the art already on the floor has a tag. And Alex Johnson is essentially doing his dream job.

"Something along the lines of an art dealer," said Johnson.

But Alex and Anthony don't just sell the art, they make it.

"We just put it down on the concrete and we beat it with a wooden mallet and put that texture in it...making the rugs into floor mats, door mats all kinds of stuff," said Johnson.

"A single sheet of paper, between six to ten people made that paper and then that gets passed onto the next person who maybe cutting it or rolling it and again its breaking it down to a process," said Art Garden direct support professional Kristina LeClair.

At the end of the week, the money from whatever is sold at the Art Garden is split between everyone.

"When we get customers in here they're constantly saying how great their work is and so to hear that personally by someone who is not paid really gives them value in the community," said LeClair.

According to Autism Speaks, nearly half of all 25-year-olds with Autism have never had a paying job, but at the Art Garden adults over the age of 21 with Autism and other developmental disabilities can make a little cash and learn a lot while doing it.

"I've learned money skills and customer service skills," said Johnson.

The Art Garden is located at 9747 Q St in Omaha. The Autism Center of Nebraska plans on opening a second location in Fremont in May. The Autism Center of Nebraska is also holding a fundraiser to help fund programs like the Art Garden in May. Information is listed below.

Hats off to ACN
Time: 6:00 - 10:00 P.M.
Date: Saturday, May 4th
Location: Autism Center of Nebraska
Address: 9012 Q Street, Omaha
For More Information call: 402-315-1000 or click here!