Best Art with a Cause

NIAD Art Center

The NIAD Art Center in Richmond helps people with disabilities create and distribute art — its name stands for Nurturing Independence Through Artistic Development. The goal of the center is simple: to give artists a sense of independence and a platform for their creativity. Each artist has the opportunity to take classes in different media, and all classes are taught by professional contemporary artists. The space itself doubles as an art studio and a gallery, with artists earning a 50 percent commission from every piece sold. More than just an art space, NIAD acts as a second home for their artists. They not only provide the resources for them to create, they help them start their careers as working artists. NIAD is with them every step of the way — from creation to marketing to selling their work, yet all under the direction of the artists themselves. Executive Director Deborah Dyer sees this as a special opportunity for people with disabilities who often can't find work. NIAD, she says, allows them to do what they love and get the support they need to succeed.

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