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Program helps people express themselves in new ways through art

Artists create art, learn through music, and more at Aspire of WNY

BUFFALO, N.Y. — From sunflowers, to snow, to the more abstract, all kinds of art is on display at Aspire of Western New York's location in Getzville. However, it won't be here for long. Many of the pieces will be up for sale and will hit the auction block Friday night. 

The pieces were all created by artists in Aspire's "I Express" program. It provides a creative outlet for adults and children living with a range of disabilities.

"A lot of the people we support don't have the dexterity to hold the paintbrush, to graciously go across the canvas. So what we've allowed is people to express themselves in away that makes them the best they can be," explained Aspire's Coordinator of Day Service Opportunities, Amy Holdnack. 

"Certainly the end result is the art that they produce, but it really isn't about the art that they produce. It's about the journey that they take to get there, and just being able to express themselves in a way that maybe they haven't been able to before." 

Stacy Wetherwax is one of the program's most dedicated artists. She told us about it, with help speaking from her iPad. 

"I am a happy person who loves creating artwork. I have been participating in the I Express program for a long time," she said.  

Stacy's pieces have fetched thousands of dollars at the program's annual auction fundraiser in the past. 

This year, she submitted the winter-inspired painting.  

"I love being able to create beautiful art and showing others what I can do, even though I have physical limitations. I also enjoy being part of the art community." 

Aspire of WNY's annual Art and Wine Celebration will take place Friday, September 6 from 6 p.m. - 9 p.m. at 2356 North Forest Road in Getzville. Additional information is available here

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