I painted at the St. Ann Center in St. Francis for about two years starting in 2006. It's an intergenerational daycare that focuses on children, the disabled and the elderly. I was introduced to the Center by another artist who works there named Alice. She gave me a tour and introduced me to the people that I would eventually get to paint.
The St. Ann Center is an amazing place, made possible because of generous and hard working people. They gave me full access to their facilities, staff and clients. Selecting potential models at the center was a touchy process. I didn't want to exploit anyone because of their disabilities. I wanted to find people who were completely capable of understanding and comfortable with the concept and process that goes into sitting for a painting. Each person painted for this series was paid for their time. I didn't want them to feel like I was taking advantage of them or making them into a poster child for their disability. Instead, I wanted to paint each one of them as an individual that is dealing with their life and what it has given them.
It took a lot more patience on my part to work with the clients at St. Ann. Often the people that sat for me required special care and attention. They operated by a different set of rules than other people I had painted and I found myself dealing with a lot more responsibility. The result of which made me very protective and proud of them.