Open Studio for All
Participants in the Open Studio for All explore their talents through painting last month. The next Open Studio for All will be held 4-7 p.m. Thursday, July 11, at the Arts Center. Open studio is free but space is limited so you must pre register. Call (229) 985-1922.

MOULTRIE, Ga. — The Colquitt County Arts Center was recently awarded a grant from Real Communities, an initiative funded by the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities (GCDD) and managed collaboratively with Global Ubuntu. With the grant, the Colquitt County Arts Center will launch a new program and become the newest Real Communities Partner in Georgia.

The new program, hosted by the Colquitt County Arts Center, is called Open Studio for All, according to a press release from the arts center.

Open Studio for All is a visual arts initiative that aims to create a more inclusive arts community by shifting people’s perceptions about individuals with disabilities through gatherings to create artwork, share experiences and talents, and share stories as the community members get to know one another.

Open Studio for All includes two unique initiatives, both of which are free and open to community members ages 16 and up. The first features bi-monthly gatherings with guided instruction from an artist. The second features a monthly open studio, during which community members may work on visual arts of their choice. Both gatherings provide opportunities for community members to share their gifts and talents and contribute to the art world. For more information or to register, visit

“Allowing more people access to art gatherings in our community will change people’s perceptions about individuals with disabilities through the opportunities to create art, through sharing artist abilities and talents and through the conversations that will take place at the gatherings,” said Kim Yarbrough, program and education director at the Colquitt County Arts Center. “Through our grant from Real Communities, Open Studio for All helps develop and nurture social relationships, and people with disabilities will play an active role in changing perceptions in our community.”

As a grantee, the Colquitt County Arts Center also becomes a Real Communities Partner. Each Real Communities Partner has a community builder whose role is to build the group, support implementation of the work and create sustainability and accountability, the arts center’s press release said. Among the supports Real Communities Partners receive are the training and development of community builders, coaching and mentoring of grantee leadership and access to regular learning opportunities to sharpen their skills and enhance their toolboxes.

“Purposefully involving people with and without developmental disabilities in collaborative projects is pivotal to the framework of Real Communities,” said Sumaya Karimi, founder and director of Global Ubuntu. “We seek to support communities who welcome and utilize the gifts of everyone, including those who have been historically marginalized, and create avenues toward reciprocity, interdependence and social change. And we’re thrilled to have Colquitt County Arts Center and Open Studio for All join us in this mission as a Real Communities Partner.”

Real Communities is a cutting-edge initiative launched state-wide in 2010 by GCDD to partner with local groups working to build more just communities, the press release said. Managed collaboratively with Global Ubuntu, Real Communities is a thoughtful, action-learning approach that equips community members at the local, grassroots level to work together toward common goals to improve their own communities using person-centered supports, community-centered connections and persistent and reflective learning. For more information on Real Communities, visit

The Arts Center will hold the next Open Studio for All on Thursday, July 11. Open Studio is free and open to all 16 and older, all supplies are included but you must register in advance as space is limited. For more information call the Colquitt County Arts Center at 985-1922.

React to this story: