John Ard is a prolific painter.
The 35-year-old Bowling Green, Mo., resident grabs his brushes and paints vibrant images at least once a week.
“I like to paint because it makes me happy,” Ard said.
He’s been painting since he was young and has showcased his work locally. More recently, he has entered his art into the Celebrate the Artist in You showcase at the Hannibal Arts Council.
The exhibit was done in partnership with the Hannibal Regional office of the Missouri Department of Mental Health — Missouri Division of Developmental Disabilities. It spotlighted the creative abilities of those with developmental disabilities, such as Down syndrome and autism, in an eight-county region around Hannibal. Sixty-five artists submitted 150 examples of crafts and art.
“We think it is important for people to display this art just like anybody else. Having it at the Hannibal Arts Council is great because it’s a typical setting for art to be showcased,” Hannibal Regional self-directed coordinator Kelly Lockwood said.
Like Ard, Amanda Sanders, 31, of Hannibal, is a painter, too. She painted a cross, hearts and handicap sign in watercolors and submitted them to the show.
“I’m excited that people will see them,” Sanders said. “It means a lot to me to have them showcased. I enjoy painting because it’s fun.”
However, due to the frequency she has been painting as of late, Sanders is now “taking a break,” she said with a laugh.
Not all pieces in the show were drawn or painted. Some, categorized as crafts, made use of paper and other objects.
Mary Gupton, 54, of Hannibal, colored flowers from a coloring book and framed them. In the past, she completed jigsaw puzzles and framed those for the show, as well.
“It’s pretty cool to see my stuff displayed,” Gupton said. At a previous show, she won people’s choice for a puzzle she put together.
“It might be my chance again,” she said.
The people’s choice awards were an important part of the show, Lockwood said. That is the only chance the public had to select their favorite piece, and votes were accepted up to 15 minutes before the people’s choice winner was announced. First, second, third place and honorable mention awards were handed out to the artists, as well.
Attendees also had the option to purchase the art and crafts. Prices ranged from a few dollars to more than $100.
“I’ve already sold two for $5 each,” Gupton said happily.
Each artist expressed excitement at attending the show to see not only their work but the work of others.
“There’s a lot of talent here, and I think they love to see their work showcased,” Lockwood said. “They all have some really creative ideas.”
The Hannibal Arts Council, 105 S. Main St., is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday and Wednesday through Friday. Its hours on Saturday are 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
— By Ashley Szatala