Adults with disabilities, future engineers, scientists unite through art

Jesus Figueroa

Through the medium of clay, the Cosmosphere and Disability Supports of the Great Plains brought artists with disabilities and students with an interest in aerospace together this summer.

Teens in Cosmosphere's Space 501 Camp were introduced to DSGP clients at The Clayworks art studio in McPherson, KS, where the clients create and sell their artwork. 

The campers created clay art under the direction of the Clayworks artists.
"It's valuable for our students to understand the skill sets and creativity these artists bring to the table," Tracey Tomme, Cosmosphere COO, said. "Sometimes our camp participants are so bogged with math and science they forget about the importance of artistic expression. We think blending our future engineers and scientists with more creative thinkers who see the world differently makes everyone's lives brighter."
Eden Craig, a Cosmosphere camper from Raymore, MO, enjoyed the project. 
"It's really neat to work with these amazing people," Craig said. "This project allows more personalization of the experience and I'm able to bring something home I've done in camp."
Space 501 camp counselor Blake Lee, said that later in the week, when campers toured NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, art was specifically mentioned.
"We were on a behind-the-scenes tour, and our guide brought up the need for artists on the JPL team. They need creative-minded people in design all the time," Lee said.
But the creativity doesn't stop at the artwork. Both Tomme and Rick Staab, DSGP President and CEO, agree this partnership will grow.
"We are planting the seeds of possibilities," Staab said. "Our clients have the capacity to make this initiative more successful than you or I." 
Staad said, "There's no filter on how they perceive, they go all in and will embrace every aspect of this project openly."
For information about Cosmosphere camps, visit

More about Cosmosphere:
The Cosmosphere International SciEd Center & Space Museum in Hutchinson, KS features the largest combined collection of U.S. and Russian Space Artifacts in the world and offers aerospace camps to thousands of campers each summer.

More about Disability Supports of the Great Plains:
Disability Supports of the Great Plains has served adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities since 1996, meeting the needs of those they serve through individual attention, higher professional standards and innovative care.

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