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Artists with disabilities get special deliveries to keep them creating at home

Interact in St. Paul is helping their artist stay connected and creative through their quarantine.

How many of you or your kids have done some form of art at home whether it’s drawing, painting, even acting?

Well, some artists in the Twin Cities are getting special deliveries so they can keep making art while quarantined.

Bart Bartholomew is a visual artist with Interact in Saint Paul.

"Art is the heartbeat and soul of not only interact family but also the greater community and world," Bartholomew said.

Jeanne Calvit is Interact's Executive Director.  She said they are the only multi-platform art center in the country for artists with a range of disabilities.

But because of COVID-19, Interact had to shut its doors.

"We had to close but our staff stayed on and we were able to pay them and they we started setting up this remote learning and immediately started doing that," Calvit said.

#ArtWorkingFromHome was born. One after another, Interact staff have been dropping off materials to the artists to keep them working, inspired and connected.

"They helped me find a way to communicate through art which gave me words," Bartholomew said.

Bart said that connection isn’t just a supply drop-off either, but a virtual check-in most days of the week.

"I’ve gotten a half hour video session with my advocate to help keep me connected to help keep me on a schedule, to get a process of what I’m going to do next," Bartholomew said.

In turn, this whole process is giving staff the will they need to find a way to keep the doors open one way or another.

"Seeing that work every day and hearing from our artists it’s just like, ‘Oh my God, we cannot let up, we cannot give up, we have to stay at this,’” Calvit said.

Interact hopes to survive the pandemic, but at this time Calvit said it's unclear.

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