It’s a G Thing: Brooklyn art studio gives people with disabilities a place to express their creativity

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“Everytime I come here I wonder where my imagination will take me," Myasia Dowdell.  "I just like to surprise everyone.”

Dowdell  is an artist through and through.

“I like to find the natural elements in a contemporary theme,” she explained.

She expresses her creativity at a Brooklyn art studio called L.A.N.D., a program that's part of the League Education & Treatment Center.

"It means League Artist Natural Design," Matthew Bede Murphy said. "It’s about visibility, it’s about honesty and it’s about providing a platform for people who don’t have attention.”

All of the artists here have been diagnosed with some sort of disability. But, what I saw was incredible talent and unique perspectives.

“We’re about inclusion here so it’s not about identifying people with a breakdown of who they are or where they come from," Murphy described. "We’re stressing what you can do."

Matthew Bede Murphy launched the program in 2003 and feels it's helped him grow as well.

"It’s a stimulating area, I use all my skills and I grow everyday working with the artists from LAND," he added.

From sketches to paintings to chalk drawings, the work is as diverse as the people creating it.

“Art is something that I’ve enjoyed doing and being at the LAND program for the last 12 years and I don’t plan to stop either,” Carlo Daleo, an artist, said.

“What is your thing about bridges?” I asked Robert Latchman.  “Because I like its prospective on water and the ways the cars run above it."

Attention to detail they all take pride in.

"My hand is like a built in ruler and it’s more steady than most," Latchman said.

The talent here is off the charts and rightfully, it's been noticed. These artists display their pieces in galleries and sell to home high profile buyers.

“Some of the stuff I do from the heart ... you cannot put a price tag on, it’s from within," Dowdell said.

The studio also emphasizes the importance of collaboration, recently launching a new project called LANDLovers, which brings in a visiting artists to work on an evolving mural.

"It's such a different way of working," Austin English, who is a visiting artist, said. "I think making art is one of the most important things, it’s purely pleasurable."


Produced by: Kim Pestalozzi

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