Posts Tagged ‘Power of a Dream’

Micro-Entrepreneurship: Supporting the Dreams of Triangle Artists With Disabilities

By Taryn OeschP1040558-e1513269300865-700x441

The Power of the Dream is a local nonprofit with a mission to create jobs and advocate for adults with autism and developmental/intellectual disorders (autism/IDD) in the Triangle. One of the ways it accomplishes this mission is by helping artists become micro-entrepreneurs, or small business owners, by creating a business and selling their work.

For example, Walter Magazine’s latest issue profiled King Nobuoyshi Godwin, an artist with autism whose paintings use bright colors and numbers to express his unique perspective and emotions. Godwin’s art is currently on display at Artspace and can also be found at The Power of the Dream’s thrift store, HANDmeUPS, as well as Lucky Tree, Moondog Fine Arts, and Read With Me.

P1040564-225x300The Power of the Dream offers micro-enterprise workshops for artists and other entrepreneurs with autism/IDD. The students bring their artistic ability; The Power of the Dream brings the business knowledge. Together with the artists’ support teams, they build business plans to help the artists start selling their work. The current class includes a painter, a soap maker who already has his own family business, and a jeweler who also creates handmade cushions and pillows.

The class takes the students through the components of a business plan, one piece at a time, and they finish with a complete plan, ready to start selling their art. Building business acumen also helps the students build confidence in themselves. In fact, Tirthna Badhiwala, the employment and outreach coordinator at The Power of the Dream, says, “My favorite thing is seeing our micro-entrepreneurs gain confidence in who they are, often after years of being discouraged from pursuing their dreams. Hearing new micro-entrepreneurs talk about their first sales and seeing how self-empowering that is for them never gets old.”

“A difference in communication or style does not automatically negate skills or abilities,” says Nichole Brownlee, executive director of The Power of the Dream. “Whether it is their primary source of income or a supplement to their income, our micro-entrepreneurs also receive the benefits of empowerment and self-determination that can be lacking with this population.”

“Micro-enterprise is one of the most empowering options in the face of un(der)employment,” says Badhiwala, “not only because it can be an income supplement for artists with autism/IDD, but because it’s an income supplement that comes from creating what they genuinely love.” Any artist can agree that the sense of empowerment, independence and creative freedom that comes from supporting yourself by doing something you love is worth all the hard work it takes to get there. The Power of the Dream helps micro-entrepreneurs with that hard work.

Want to know more? Visit The Power of a Dream website or contact them by email.  Check out some of the art on sale at HANDmeUPS thrift store, or come to the next PowerUP pop-up market on May 19 from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Hero’s Pub in Raleigh.

Taryn Oesch is an award-winning editor and writer with a passion for inclusion and the arts. In her spare time, she volunteers with Miracle League of the Triangle and The Power of the Dream, plays the flute at her church, and battles for apartment space with an ever-growing collection of books. 

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