Fitting Together Art empowers children with disabilities

click to enlarge Children with hearing impairments worked with artists to create these birds, as part of Fitting Together Art. |photos courtesy of fitting together art - PHOTOS COURTESY OF FITTING TOGETHER ART
Photos courtesy of Fitting Together Art
Children with hearing impairments worked with artists to create these birds, as part of Fitting Together Art. |photos courtesy of fitting together art
Jennifer Lunzer never felt like she fit in at school. "Art was my safe place where I was good at something and did not have to feel embarrassed about my work," says Lunzer, who has dyslexia. "And growing up dyslexic, no one told me to set my sights high."

Now as an artist and also the owner of a successful small business, Josefine's Salon Concepts, Lunzer has incorporated her experiences to create Fitting Together Art. The concept is to design an art project in which children, regardless of their abilities, can experience success. Then the children's artwork is augmented by artists for inclusion in a fundraising project, and proceeds are donated to a charity of the kids' choosing.

Last year for their inaugural project, Lunzer and Melissa Klindtworth, an artist and FTA board member, who co-owns Northern Metal Design with husband Ryan, designed an ocean-themed project for a group of children with autism. They cut fish, turtles, a seahorse and octopus shapes out of wood for the kids to paint. Then Northern Metal Design added metal embellishments.

FTA held a silent auction at Josefine's for several months, during which they sold all the artworks, which were priced from $45-$150. The group kept 10 percent to help fund future projects and FTA was able to donate more than $2,200 to the Isaac Foundation in 2018.

click to enlarge PHOTOS COURTESY OF FITTING TOGETHER ART
Photos courtesy of Fitting Together Art

For 2019, FTA focused on hearing loss, tapping into Klindtworth's involvement in the deaf community as a sign language interpreter.

"What I learned is it's less of a disability than it is a language," says Lunzer. Ten children, 7-15 years old, with hearing impairments painted all manner of birds — from smaller songbirds to flying geese. The finished pieces were then embellished with mosaic glass and epoxy, making them look like fused glass artworks, and were displayed at Ben Joyce Studios. Lunzer hosted Joyce's artwork at the opening of her salon in 2011 and counts Joyce as a good friend.

The artworks have since been relocated to Josefine's, where they continue to sell for $75 to $150. In addition to raising funds for the continued operation of FTA, the sale of artworks will aid other hearing-impaired children, something the participating children voted on.

"I want to empower kids with the idea we all can do something, and helping others is fun and rewarding," says Lunzer. "I love art and my hope is I can inspire a couple kids to love giving too."

Southeast Spokane County Fair @ Rockford

Fri., Sept. 20, 12 p.m.
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